Nikon F system questions and advice

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by puketronic, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    So I have a Nikon F on its way. I'm starting with a Nikon 58mm f1.4 and 28mm f2.0 both non-ai. I plan on getting a Nikon 105mm f2.5, non-ai (sonnar version).

    I think that a Nikon F + 58mm f1.4 + 28mm f2.0 + 105mm f2.5 will be a decent Nikon F starter kit. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself but now I'm wanting to know more about the bodies.

    1. Is there a "preferred" screen for the Nikon F. I do not know how good/bad my screen is but with some cameras like Rollei and hasselblad, everyone wants to get a Maxwell/Acute Matte D, etc. I'm used to Leica M RF's so I worry that screen brigthness and contrast might be a problem.

    2. My next body would probably be an F3 or F4. Basically some body with motordrive. Is there a reason to get an F3 + MD over an F4? Are the screens between the F's, atleast the first four, interchangeable? I'd think that the F4 screen might be even worse since it is an AF camera.

    3. Glass-wise. Is there a preferred low-cost 20mm? I'm thinking 20mm f3.5 UD or one of the AI/AIS ones at comparable speeds. Or just opting for a CV 20mm f3.5.
     
  2. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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  3. Yashinoff

    Yashinoff Member

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    I may be wrong but I think only the F and F2 screens are interchangeable with each other.

    A list of F screens: http://www.mir.com.my/michaeliu/cameras/shared/ff2screens.htm

    I personally enjoy using the plain ground glass type the most, since it kind of enhances the entire point of using a reflex in the first place, but if you're worried about brightness anything with a fresnel screen is probably a better choice.
     
  4. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    As far as the screens go yes, F & F2 are interchangeable and there are quite a few to choose from.
    Usually you'll se an "A" in there which is a split image rangefinder type.

    Click on that link that Yash so kindly referenced. Dig deep and read up on that mir site then there is also the
    http://www.destoutz.ch/nikon-f.html
    site which has some beautiful reference shots of the F's and accessories.

    One of the many pluses of the F is that the viewfinder (Photomic or plain prism) is free of clutter and any electronic data to beep and flash like a pinball machine. You might want to try a plain screen if a focussing aid is not necessary.

    web_Z7S2131.JPG
     
  5. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Earlier this year I took delivery of my father's camera collection which I have inherited. There are two Nikon Fs, one black and one chrome, which will now be my main 35mm cameras (unless I want something lightweight when I will use a Pentax MX).

    I have Photomic prisms for both and plain prisms for the black one (I would like to get a chrome plain prism). As far as lenses go I have a 35mm f2.8, a 50mm f1.4, a 105mm f2.5 and a 200mm f4. I might try to get something a bit wide in the future.

    Currently I am happy taking out just one body with the 105mm lens.


    Steve.
     
  6. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    1. The best overall focusing screen for the F/F2 is the P; fan favorites are the G and H series; minimalists prefer the B; traditionalists, the K; my personal favorite is the E. Basically, collect as many screens as you can and have fun trying them out.

    2. If I had to choose between the F3 and F4, I'd choose the F4 every time, but that's just me. The F4 isn't handicapped in any way when it comes to manually focusing. In fact, one could argue the F4 is superior in this regard because of its electronic rangefinder. For others, the electronic rangefinder in the F4 is the antichrist (it does have a tendency to blink in your eye).

    3. I haven't tried the VC 20mm, but it's probably a better performer than the old Nikkors. That's not to say it's necessarily a better lens or that it takes better pictures. It most likely will simply have a different look with maybe a hair of extra "sharpness" in the extreme corners. I use an 18mm but if I were to get an F-mount 20mm right now, it'd be the 20mm f/4. But that's just me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2012
  7. presspass

    presspass Member

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    You can get a nice, if a bit heavy, motor drive for an F2. The F motors are troublesome and most won't fit without a tech's modification. The F3 works very well with the MD4 motor, which also powers the camera. I prefer the F3 to the F4 mainly for durability. We had F4s at work and they tended to fail under continued use; the F3s did not.
     
  8. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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    Hmmm, no. If there was "the one preferred screen" then there would be no need for a choice...

    What you prefer may or may not be what anyone else prefers.

    Me, I like the P (diagonal split RF central spot w/ microprism surround) and the E (grid on plain ground glass). The P isn't much good with >200mm lenses, and neither is optimal for <24mm. Nikon makes special screens for long and short lenses, but most people don't bother with them.

    Without the gridded E screen my wide angle shots are invariably tilted a few degrees to the left.
     
  9. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Your choices are good. A 35mm lens would be too close to the 58mm lens. The 105mm lens is a better choice than an 85mm lens for portraits. If you are not going to take portraits, then I suggest that you look for 180mm or longer focal length lens. A 180mm lens increases the image size by a factor of 3, anything shorter will be too close to the 58mm lens.

    Remember to spread the focal lens of the fixed lenses so that you will no leave one less used or unused.
     
  10. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    +1 on the Type E screen. All my F2 bodies have either the "B" or "E". The former is great with long lenses. The "E" is the proverbial cat's meow for landscape or architecture work. To the OP: I may have an extra Type A screen in amongst my assortment of parts if you want to try one out; pm me at the end of the month when I return home. IF I can find the thing, it's yours for the asking.
     
  11. kivis

    kivis Subscriber

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    I have a meter less F since 1976 (got it used). My kit includes a CV 20mm (really sharp and tiny), a 50/1.4 Ai'd, and an Ai 105/2.5. I love the combo. Sometimes I just go with the F and a CV 40mm pancake. A great small day kit.
     
  12. Robert Ley

    Robert Ley Member

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    If you plan to get any newer Nikon than the F or early F2's than I would highly recommend that you get Ai lenses. The non-Ai lenses will not work well or at all with some of the newer Nikon's. For-instance, they will not fit an FM2, FE2 or the FA and will only work in stop down mode with the F2A or the F3. I don't know about the F4 or F5. I have mostly the Ai or Ais lenses but a few non-Ai and can only use them with my F2. I am considering having these lenses converted here: http://www.aiconversions.com/PricesAndShipping.htm

    As for the viewfinder screens, I have tried most and really like the grid screen (E) and have that screen on all my Nikon's.

    If you can find an F2 in good shape, that would be a nice camera and you should consider it. I love my F2...very tough camera and it keeps on going even w/o batteries.
     
  13. fstop

    fstop Member

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    I don't agree with converting lenses, right now on KEH the difference between a non AI and AI 50mm is $12 hardly worth the cost of conversion that devalues vintage lenses.
     
  14. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Focusing screen is personal so I wouldn't recommend one. I use plain screen like type B or type D. Many fan of the F4 said it's the best manual focus Nikon. I since don't have one I can't say much but I much prefer the F3 as its simpler. I found many of the extra features on newer cameras I simply not use. Since I don't have the F4 I can only say which features on the F5 that I don't use. I don't use S or P mode (my F5 custom setting is set to disable S or P mode, only A or M is selectable). I don't use the matrix nor spot. For spot I found a hand held is easier to use. For matrix it doesn't work for color negative film. I don't use auto bracketing, I found it take more time to set the sequence. I do at times use AF, but I have heard the AF on the F4 isn't any where as good as the F5.
     
  15. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I have the F5 too.

    I do use many of the features.

    One is the shape of the body, it is a joy to hold.

    AF is very important to me, my eyes are getting old.

    Use with speed lights is sweet.

    IMO the meter is very nice for an in camera meter, I even use "A" on occasion. Still prefer an incident meter and "M" but in a pinch it is just fine.

    Sure there are things I don't use but that's ok.
     
  16. budrichard

    budrichard Member

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    What do plan on using this equipment for?
    Makes great deal of difference in focusing screens and bodies/motors.
    Frankly, I would not purchase any glass other than Nikkor.-Dick
     
  17. okto

    okto Member

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    The F3/MD4 combo is a beauty. It's dense and durable and inspires confidence the way a hammer does. It is quite heavy, something like 2kg all dressed, but that extra weight is a helluva damper for camera shake. I could hand-hold mine at 1/15 on the regular, 1/8 if I got my breathing just right.

    I can't see a reason to own an F4 in 2012. The AF is pathetic, it's plasticy-feeling for an F, the ergonomics are strange, the viewfinder is a hellscape of information overload, and it somehow manages to feel even bigger than it actually is. Matrix metering is great and all, but the only time I see a need for it is when shooting quickly, a situation in which you would also want an AF system which can track a moving object—something the F4 can only do in lab-ideal conditions.

    Everything about the F4 screams "stop-gap"; it's not really an MF body, it's not really an AF body, it's not really traditional ergonomics, it's not modern ergonomics. It's the middle child of Nikon history, neither here nor there.
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Again that is why I think that the F100 is the best 35mm camera that Nikon made. Who needs a motor drive to machine gun photographs. Leave that silly non-sense for the digi-snappers!
     
  19. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    I have a complete set of Nikon screens (22) for my F2 and a couple of Beattie screens. However, there are some that I prefer to others. When I was young with good eyesight, I preferred the “B” screen for general shooting. As my eyesight failed, I found it easier to accurately focus with the “A” screen. For astrophotography, I prefer the “M” screen. I use the other screens when the circumstances warrant. For example, if I am doing a lot of 35mm architectural work, I will use the grid lines on the “E” or “R” screens.

    I have used the Nikon F, F2, F3, and F4. All are excellent cameras. I no longer own the F or F3 but I still own and use the F2 ad F4.


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11336821@N00/5219148200/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11336821@N00/5219143020/
     

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  20. sangetsu

    sangetsu Member

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    I have owned a few F3s, an F2, a couple of F4s, and a couple of f100s, an FM, FM2, and even an FM3A, but I have sold all of them except my old plain-prism F. This is my favorite Nikon camera, it's simplicity and ruggedness appeals to me, and I get great photos with it. Don't knock the old F, it's more than enough to get the job.
     
  21. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Yes it is, it's a simple rugged tool which can be kept running almost indefinitely. The F2 is just about as good, I can't think of any area where it is inferior to the F as far as reliability.
    Don't knock the first series of Nikkormats, either.
     
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  22. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Saw many an F take quite a beating in Vietnam and they kept on ticking. I wonder if more modern cams would hold up nearly as well. :confused: Every time I pick up mine I'm reminded of the weight, but it sure is solid.
     
  23. puderse

    puderse Member

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    Fs

    Having bought my first F in '70 while an Army still photographer and used the succession of Fs until '95 as supplied by my rich uncle Sam, I never had the F, F2, or F3 stop working of its own accord. They do stop working if submerged for any length of time or smashed.

    I'm still using my original personal Fs. (The reason I bought them was that the government expected me to use a 4X5 for everything but slides and we had one Spotmatic with one lens.) I only recently had one CLA'd because the slow speeds were getting really slow.

    The F3 with HP prism is the only F3 I would consider. The older you get the more you appreciate it.

    I have had the UD 20mm for more than 40 years. My favorite lens, but big. The 2.8/28mm (.2m min focus) is Nikon's sharpest, best WA. The 2.5/105mm is perfect.

    Ai lenses with ears work on F and F2, non-Ai work only in stop-down mode on the F3.

    Of my Nikons the F3s get the most use. Never had the motor on the F or F3 fail on its own.

    The F will never let you down. Try many screens; find what YOU prefer. Different jobs dictate screen choices.

    12 Nikons/14 NIKKORS