Need to get a Nikon body, tell me about the Fxxx/Nxxxx series

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Dr.Pain-MD, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. Dr.Pain-MD

    Dr.Pain-MD Member

    Messages:
    141
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Vancouver, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    After a year of dealing with my Nikon FE, it is not cooperating and is constantly jamming and locking up on me. I've had it serviced twice, the second time was supposed to be a sure fix, but the problem still haunts me. At this point I am very fed up with it and will most likely be using it as a doorstop/paperweight/etc. So now I am on the lookout for a new Nikon body.

    After a bit of reading, I have become really interested in the Fxx/Nxxxx series. For some reason I am attracted to the elctronic-ness of them, especially since I tended to shoot in aperture priority with my FE a lot of the time. I still have one fully mechanical Nikon-mount body, my trusty Kiev-19 which I have full confidence in, so I am set in that department.

    Now, I have three AI primes that I use and these are the lenses I plan on using. I, obviously, want metering with the AI lenses so that's a big requirement. I also need to be able to manually punch in the ISO and override the DX coding, but I think that most of them can do that. Other than that I don't have any other major requirements, at least not off the top of my head. My one big concern though is the viewfinder/focusing screen issue. I want to be able to focus with ease, so something like a microprism would be a pretty important thing to have. I've read that they have the electronic rangefinder, but how about the screens themselves? I'm hoping that they're not like those in the new Nikon DSLRs because those are, quite frankly, absolute crap when it comes to manual focusing or seeing things even. I would like to know what focusing on this series is like, so tell me about that.

    So yeah, let's hear it. What's good and what's out there?

    EDIT: How responsive is the electronic rangefinder? From my reasearch it seems to be that it is very easy to use and that sounds great, but how quick is it to check your focus?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2012
  2. stavrosk

    stavrosk Member

    Messages:
    155
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Nikon F100 can meter with manual lenses and has a fast shutter speed of 1/8000.
    It is not as expensive and heavy as say an F5.

    It is considered as a solidly built camera that lasts.
     
  3. guitstik

    guitstik Member

    Messages:
    1,098
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Eads TN.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    F4 can matrix meter with lenses back to 1977.
     
  4. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,118
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    Location:
    Hamburg, DE
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    F801s is my favorite: good build and nowadays almost for free :smile:
     
  5. Johnkpap

    Johnkpap Member

    Messages:
    105
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Location:
    Australia
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The othe option is A Nikon F3, there are alot for sale a Clean F3 HP can be had for Under $250.00 !!! not Bad for a camera that cost $$$$$ new and the MD4 is avaliable for under $100.00.

    The other option is a FE2 or a FA they can also be bought for under $250 and the both work with a MD 11/12 motor

    Regards

    John
     
  6. OldBodyOldSoul

    OldBodyOldSoul Member

    Messages:
    232
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    My suggestion would be either a F4 or a F100 depending on the ratio of MF/AF you expect to do. I would skip anything in between, unless you don't want to spend more than $50. The only reason I am suggesting F4 and not F3 (which is what I use) is the auto film advance/rewind in F4.

    F100 does handle like a DSLR, I would compare it with D700 in size and feel. The VF is nice and big, but very different from anything from the old era. Focusing screens for F-F4 were made with manually focusing in mind; focusing screen in F100 is optimized for AF and it shows. I do use my F100 with old Nikkors with absolutely no problems, but it's no F3. Its ground glass is a bit dimmer than F3HP and then there are five AF points that you have to learn to ignore.
    Personally, I pick up F100 when expecting to use AF. Otherwise, it's F3.
     
  7. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

    Messages:
    625
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Location:
    Canmore Ab C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Nikon F4 is a good choice providing you can accept its bulk and weight.

    I use mine with manual focus AI lenses and for a while focused with the standard "type B" focus screen that came with the camera. I later bought a "type P" screen (hard to get) which is similar to the screen in my F3HP and I find this much better. I would not buy this camera for it's autofocus capability even with modern lenses. see: http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikonf4/screens/index.htm

    The F4 is a very nice camera, but for weight and portability I prefer the F3HP.
     
  8. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

    Messages:
    695
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2011
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I can't compare it to anything else, but I do like my F4S. Yes, it's rather heavy, but I have small hands and I like having the stability that such a camera affords me. It's a matter of personal "feel," but it's nicely contoured, so it feels great.

    Yes, the AF is relatively slow, but it's nice to have. The electronic rangefinder lamp doesn't light until you're dead-on focused, so there isn't much "play" in that and I find I rarely depend on it. I snap the shutter when I feel the scene is focused regardless of the lamp.
     
  9. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,958
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Who worked on your FE? That should not be such a problem.
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Manual focusing on F-100 isn't that easy. For one, the electronic range finder gives you a "range" where the blue dot illuminates. Sometimes, this range can be quite a bit.

    For another, the arrangement where the dot is located at lower left corner of view finder requires one to look at two things at once. The scene itself making sure focusing bracket is where it is supposed to be, and the lower left corner for the green dot. I've never got used to this. The dot is so far on the edge of my view that it isn't easy or natural.

    I do like F-100 and I have 3 of them - but manual focusing on them isn't my thing.
     
  11. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

    Messages:
    6,661
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That's what I was thinking!
     
  12. ooze

    ooze Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2004
    Location:
    Istanbul, Tu
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have an F4 and an F90x and have played around with almost all Nikons. I would say either an F90x or an F801s are very capable and reliable electronic bodies...and so cheap these days. My only complaint would be the plasticky back door with the gum that tends to peel off. Personally, I'm not that fond of the F4.
     
  13. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The 8008s/801s didn't have the dull, rubberized finish, so no problems. The sticky back problem was common among early N90s/F90x, so much so that Nikon replaced them free. Later versions didn't seem to have the same defect.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Funny but I've always found the confirmation dot to be accessible but not distracting in that position. This lets me frame and focus with the dot appearing when what I'm aiming at is in focus. Accuracy has never been an issue. Seems to work just fine on older models like the 8008s/801s and N90s/F90x, too.
     
  16. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I always wished if the focusing dot was actually tied to the focusing point bracket. That way, I can concentrate on THAT.

    The difference in our experience may have to do with the fact my eyes are highly corrected by glasses. (I'm guessing here) I have the same issue with all of my Nikon bodies.
     
  17. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

    Messages:
    380
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    Location:
    Coquitlam, B
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I second the F801s as a great camera. It has the focus confirmation (electronic rangefinder) that's really helpful.

    I'm actually selling mine as I moved up to the F90x!
     
  18. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,473
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Other than the F6, the last film SLR they made was the N75 (F75). They are dirt-cheap. Here is my review of it. In terms of using the focus indicator, it does not work in practice because you can't see the focus site and the indicator at the same time. By the time you take your eye away from the focus spot to see if the indicator is lighting up or not, the subject has moved. The screen is too small to really manual focus, so just let the camera do it.
     
  19. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    In terms of using the focus indicator, it does not work in practice because you can't see the focus site and the indicator at the same time. By the time you take your eye away from the focus spot to see if the indicator is lighting up or not, the subject has moved. The screen is too small to really manual focus, so just let the camera do it.

    The N75 is just too plasticky and feature-light compared to the not-much-better N80. Won't meter with manual lenses. Crappy mirror prism, too. Still think the F100, N90s/F90x are best all-rounders for the $.
     
  20. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    983
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Burlington,
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I had the F3, F4, F100, F90, FM, FE and F5. The F6 is the best camera Nikon has made.... and they're a bargain on ebay.

    -Rob
     
  21. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

    Messages:
    678
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I like the N6006 (F-601) and decided to keep mine since it didn't sell here; they are a little newer than the N8008 (F-801). When I got it, it was a surprise how nicely made and functional it was. I also have an F-80 (N-80) and will say that the manual focus confirmation in it is more precise than the one in the older 6006. Either is fine, but the F-80 seems to do better with things like the 24 f2.8 at moderate distances (where focus is really not very critical anyway). Both seem fine with fast lenses where it would be an issue.

    As mentioned, the FE is a great camera. Once in a while you just get a problem that is hard to sort out. A friend had an M4 like that we finally had to go over to the repair shop in person to sort out the issue (not a Leica specialist). With most 35mm cameras so cheap today (like my F80 for about anything somebody wants to give me for it) I would usually just pick up one in good shape and avoid the repair hassles. I had a fairly new at the time OM-1 that went back repeatedly but never got the flash sync entirely right.

    My favorite Nikon is still the F with straight prism, but the finder isn't as easy to focus wideangles with as the later bodies.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2012
  22. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,473
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The focusing comments above are identical for F100 (which is also covered in plastic). In Auto focus the N75 focuses faster. To make a comparison based on $; you can get ten N75s for the price of a F100.
     
  23. stavrosk

    stavrosk Member

    Messages:
    155
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes but the N75 has a maxiumum shutter speed of 1/2000.
    For some of us fast shutter speed is a very intrinsic factor of our shooting style.
     
  24. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Agree. Along with the truly awful F55, it was a low-end body. It took Nikon.ca a very long time to clear them even at give-away prices. The combination of lowish max shutter speed and a dim pentamirror finder didn't help.
     
  25. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

    Messages:
    1,925
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The manual focusing on my F6 is excellent, so if the other cameras are like that, good to go.
     
  26. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,958
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Oh ya' got me all excited! But then I checked eBay and they're still going for mostly way over a thou'. I'm sure that's a huge discount to when new but not quite the bargain I was hoping for....like F3 bodies for $150 that were $2000 when new....oh well. :smile: