Nikon f4s or F100

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by bluedog, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. bluedog

    bluedog Member

    Messages:
    156
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I am looking to try a camera with AF and am drawn to the Nikon range. I started looking at the N90s but have found for not much more I can get an F4s or F100. I would be looking at getting a couple of prime AF lenses to go with it maybe a 50 f1.4 and 85 f1.8. Can anyone provide advice on which way to go?
     
  2. raoul

    raoul Member

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    F100 is nice. Plus you have the latest flashes to work with.
     
  3. Chris Nielsen

    Chris Nielsen Member

    Messages:
    490
    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    Waikato, New
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hey, I've got a nice F5 for sale.. LOL :smile:

    I've never used either F4 or F100 but the F100's quite a lot newer, and probably a lot lighter...
     
  4. Steve Weston

    Steve Weston Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    F4s or F100

    I recently suffered a GAS attack and needed to get back to film. I already had Nikon Lenses for my D3 so started looking at Nikon bodies for film. I had used an F4s a few years back so new it was a nice camera. Well I ended up purchasing both. The F100 is a fantastic camera but so is the F4s. I think if you like the simplicity of the knobs and dials the F4s is the route to go. However the F100 is not like the digital cameras with tons of hidden menus which leave, me certainly, wondering if the camera is set up properly. The only thing I would suggest checking on the F100 is the back has plastic locks. Make sure they are there otherwise you may suffer light leaks. If I could only choose one it would be the F100. Just to show how bad my GAS attack was I know have a Canon F1n and a couple of lenses, a Mamiya C33 and a couple of lenses, Pentax P30, Bronica ETRS and an Ensign Selfix 820. Just need to find somewhere to put a darkroom. (That should please the wife.)
     
  5. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,078
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Here & Now
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    F4 is heavier+acceps all the Nikkor lenses with few exceptions. Has Martrix Metering, therefore pics seldom bad. I have to confess a preference to shoot with my Nikon F or F2AS and a Hand Held Meter. The F4 is definitely the heavier of the 2 you mention
     
  6. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,194
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I love my F4 and am biased in its favour. Autofocus is a bit slower than F100 but I enjoy the simplicity of the controls and it's a TANK - if you like that sort of thing.
     
  7. bluedog

    bluedog Member

    Messages:
    156
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I must admit I am leaning towards the F4 due to its control layout. Should I be at all concerned with the age? Are they all likely to have had pretty heavy usage?
     
  8. mablo

    mablo Member

    Messages:
    389
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I sold all my manual Nikon bodies recently and bought a F100 instead. It's a great camera to use. Perhaps I should have gone one step further and get a F5 but then again F100 is much smaller and lighter.
     
  9. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

    Messages:
    1,382
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have an F100 an it is a fantastic camera. I have no experience with the F4 so I can only speak to the F100. You can't go wrong with the F100. I must admit that generally when I shot 35mm I use my FE. I feel like I am cheating with the F100?????
     
  10. sepiareverb

    sepiareverb Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    St Johnsbbury Vermont
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    One thing to consider is that the F4 cannot deal with the newer G lenses- no aperture adjustment dial on it. If newer glass is a possibility for you F100 is the way to go.

    I shot both for years and loved the F4 for the traditional layout. As stated above it gives full metering with the widest range of old lenses.
     
  11. thegman

    thegman Member

    Messages:
    623
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Never used either, but I'd definitely go with the F100. I saw a guy walking round Istanbul with an F4, at first I though "that lens is tiny" then I realised it was a normal lens, the F4 is just enormous. F100 is quite a nice looking thing though, not too big.
     
  12. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Westminster,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    F100 is a superior camera. I've own the Nikon F, F2, F3, F4, and F5. Though the F5 is a great machine, I once owned two to replace my constantly breaking set of F4's, my back protested the weight. Switched to a set of F100 bodies and never looked back.
     
  13. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,708
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I chose the F100 over the F4. The F100 is newer and lighter. I like the control layout better.

    Steve
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. mysticeyes

    mysticeyes Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Buying an F100, check to see if the original plastic rewinding fork has been replaced with one made out of steel. Otherwise, if you're used to newer digital cameras, you will feel much more at home with an F100. It is a fabulous film camera, probably as good as anything short of an F6, and I would prefer it to an F5, which consumes batteries fast and lacks the red AF brackets. I do admit that I am biased in favor of the top of the line F cameras though.

    The F4 is a fantastic camera that is very easy to get used to if you are at all familiar with classic Nikon F-series cameras. It will mount and shoot just about any Nikon lens of the past 50+ years: non-AI, AI(s), autofocus, etc...It is extremely durable and reliable, just stay away from any camera that looks like it's been used and abused by a professional. It WILL work with G-lenses in P and S modes. It will even autofocus with AF-S lenses. I know, because just for laughs I've tried on it the DX 18-55mm kit zoom and 35mm F1.8 G lenses that belong to my D40. How an F4 that was designed years before there were any AF-S lenses can actually focus with them, I don't know, but that's Nikon.

    An MB20 grip is really nice to have on an F4 because it slims the whole package down quite a bit. One thing to keep in mind when looking for an F4 is to stay with the high serial numbers: 25* and up. There were improvements made during its lifetime that you would want in your particular camera, and that number range includes all the updates made to the body. Do read the following. Good luck and have fun....

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A. The F4 has undergone a number of performance enhancement modifications since its introduction.

    The first F4's serial number was 2000201. Moose Peterson, in his NIKON SYSTEM HANDBOOK ((3rd edition) lists several modifications to the F4 made early in the production run, between the eaarliest models and serial number 2180000.

    These include

    1. changes to the shutter speed dial -- clearer lettering, a higher unlocking button, and greater tension.

    This may have taken place between 2115101 and 2146957.

    2. a change to the switch on the viewfinder that sets metering modes; the protrusion that allows one to turn this switch has been lowered in profile to avoid unintended shift from one metering mode to another.

    This change took place AFTER 2146957.

    The original switch has a protrusion to help turn the switch that sticks up above the top of the switch where it can catch things and cause the metering to change unintentionally.

    The new switch has a protrusion as well, but it extends "out" rather than up and is much less likely to be moved accidentally. The spring tension on this switch has also been increased. This ALSO took place after 2146957.

    Pictures of the original metering switch can be seen in THE NIKON COMPENDIUM, p. 30.

    3. the spring on the release lever for opening the back is stronger.

    4. the battery warning responds at a lower voltage.

    According to Walter Pietsch, Nikon made additional modifications in the F4 since its introduction in 1988. They are

    #1) Some strengthening of the metal body, undetectable to the eye.

    #2) The original F4s had paint used on the shutter speed numbers that peeled and flaked off. If this hasn't happened to yours, then you've got the later model. This change may be included in Moose's change #1 above.

    #3) Finder has double security to be removed - you need to press the release button until finder is 3/4 off. Moose describes this change (NIKON HANDBOOK, 4th edition) as use of a "double detente on the finder release lever."

    The release button on the older model basically looks the same, but it works differently. On the older model as soon as you press the release button the finder is fully loose and can fall off.

    Lawrence Ang reports that this change had been made by the s/no 2301000 body.

    #4) There is a small rubber "tooth" that sticks out at the top of the right-hand grip and rests on the user's middle finger. This gives more support and a secure confident feeling for your right hand.

    Lawrence Ang (6/5/97) reports that this "tooth" was missing from the original model MB-20 grip as well, and was added later to that grip. (Nikon must have liked this feature; it was added to the design of the 6006 and other models).

    #5) The pin which detects whether the back is open or not was initially made of metal and is now made out of white plastic.

    #6) The battery switch inside the MB-21 grip is now labeled "Ni-Cd" rather than "KR-AA." #7) The finder now has an extra hole in the hot shoe for the security pin of the SB25 and SB 26 flash units.
    This last change seems to be most recent. It appears in F4 bodies with serial numbers after 2500000, but does not appear in bodies with serial numbers between 2400000 and 2500000.

    Once this feature had been added, however, it spread to other Nikon bodies in production in that era. Bodies late in the 6006 production run also had this feature, for example.

    In the NIKON HANDBOOK, 4th edition, Moose identifies one more change since serial number 2180000, a shift from a semi-gloss finish to a matte finish for the body and the introduction of a thicker, rubberized back for the camera, both intended to improve "gripability."

    FLASH! NEW INFORMATION! UPDATE on Above Information as of 3.6.00

    Recent correspondence from Dr. Lim Kok-Hoo, an avid Nikon collector with 6 F4 bodies, suggests the following about changes in the F4 design from review of his current holdings:

    1. Changes to the shutter speed dial and changes in the viewfinder release switch (addition of double detente) as described by Moose and others must have taken place very early, before model number 21xxxxx.

    If it is true that the numbers on the early shutter speed dials are painted on, then they must be the very early ones, possibly #20xxxxx. The double detente on the viewfinder release switch must also have been added by #21xxxxx, not just by #23xxxxx as reported by Lawrence Ang.

    2. Changes to the Metering modes switch must have taken place after #216xxxx, not #2146957 as previously believed.

    3. The upper part of the vertical grip of the MB20 and MB21 is straight with no "tooth" up to #2161358 and possibly beyond that. The earliest grip Kok Hoo Lim reports seeing is a body numbered #2276xxx. Probably the change started with #22xxxxx.

    4. Battery type indicator.

    NiCd batteries are indicated as KRAA in the battery switch inside the vertical part of the grip as well as at the battery tester in all his cameras up to #216xxxx and as NiCd in #2276xxx. So probably this change happened at about #22xxxxx.

    5. The changes that Moose mentions in his 4th Ed book about the semi-gloss to matte finish and the thicker rubberised back could not be substantiated when comparing his 3 early cameras with the three later cameras.
     
  16. LyleB

    LyleB Member

    Messages:
    379
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Location:
    Lower Michig
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Not sure what you are finding for a price of a F4s or F100, but KEH has BGN N90s for $29. I got one of these about a year ago, and it is a FINE camera. Honestly, I have no idea what prompted KEH to classify it as BGN. It appears to be, at worst, a camera store display model. No dings or marks that I can find. Works flawlessly. They are still offering them for the same price today.

    http://www.keh.com/camera/Nikon-Autofocus-Camera-Bodies/1/sku-NA029990022910?r=FE

    I also have a F100, and it has more traditional Nikon controls and is a fine camera, but so is the N90s. I don't think you can beat the KEH price. YMMV I guess.
     
  17. H. James Wolf

    H. James Wolf Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    We have used Nikon AF cameras since they were introduced. The 8008, the F100, and the F5 all performed flawlessly. The F4, however, was a problem child. We had frequent breakdowns with two of them, and the other failed less often. Could be we were too hard on them, but they went away when we were still using film, but the F5, 8008s, and F100 all stayed until we went digital. I can recommend any of those three. The F4 may be a good camera, but we weren't satisfied with the durability - the 8008s bought at the same time outlasted them.
     
  18. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Couldn't agree more. The N90s/F90x remains a superb camera, among the best prosumer models Nikon made, so good that many opted for it over the somewhat cludgey F4. Unless you use VR lenses, which the F100 supports, the N90s is currently a bargain and the 8008s practically giveaway priced. Both are great with manual lenses, too.
     
  19. ishutteratthethought

    ishutteratthethought Subscriber

    Messages:
    774
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I chose the F4 cause someone gave it to me. I use a few AF lenses with it but use my older lenses more.
    It is an impressive camera.
     
  20. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,878
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Location:
    Brandon, MB
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    +1 for the F90x (that's what it's called here, the US it's N90s). I used it for shooting at a daily newspaper for years...never a problem and still works (and meters) flawlessly today.

    That said, the F100 is newer and smaller, I've heard nothing but good things about it, as well.

    It's Nikon -- none of the choices are bad, just different.
     
  21. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

    Messages:
    814
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have used the F and F3 and am still using the F2 and F4 because I need interchangeable viewfinders. I have never used the F5 but it too offers that feature. I have never considered using the F100 or the F6 because they do not have interchangeable viewfinders.
     
  22. drumlin

    drumlin Member

    Messages:
    199
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    Chapel Hill
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The F4 does work with G lenses (but only in S and P modes, so limited). VR is not supported.
    I like the F4 because it's the rosetta stone of bodies that accepts and matrix meters with most lenses including AI/S lenses. That is, unless your throwing down the $$ for an F6,which is a fantastic camera...

    I just put an F4s up for sale here on APUG. Not sure if shipping to AUS wouldn't make it not so cost-effective though. Let me know if you're interested...
     
  23. zk-cessnaguy

    zk-cessnaguy Member

    Messages:
    137
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    Auckland, Ne
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    +1 for the F4. I adore mine. If I had to choose only one camera to keep out of all my kit (film and digi) it would be the F4.
     
  24. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

    Messages:
    2,222
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    To me, it's really quite simple to decide. (For the record, I own both cameras.)

    Do you intend to rely frequently on autofocus (particularly with moving subjects)? If so, get the F100.

    If autofocus is something you might use but don't need to rely on, the F4 is better in many other ways and it's a very pleasant camera to use.

    The only other issue I might note is size and weight. The F100 is quite small and still not bad if you add the MB-15 battery pack (that adds a very useful vertical shutter release and ups the frame advance rate from 4.5 to 5.0 fps). The F4s/F4e (the most common F4 variants) are quite a bit larger. You can buy a battery pack to make the F4 smaller and lighter (a true F4 although most so-called F4 cameras are really s or e variants). However, the packs are rare and expensive. (I am still looking for one...)
     
  25. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,951
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    Duvall, WA,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Some F4's can have issues. Had one about three weeks ago that was an above 2500000 body. Would work fine for about 10-15 frames then act as if I'd fired it on "T". Have gone back to my 2265xxx body that I owned previously. Kept the newer finder, which updated the finder release lever to the double detent feature - the mod was done to the rail on the left side of the finder. The only other truly problematic F4 I've had was one I bought as a parts camera. Someone stuck their finger through the shutter and destroyed it. The LCD's do have bleed issues on some of the bodies. Seems to be more common with the 243xxxx-244xxxx bodies in my experience. Had three that had issues. With one of them, it was in the DP-20 only (and majorly so - half of the bottom LCD was black), so I found a decent DP-20, bought it, and replaced the bad one with it. The other two had minor bleed, but not enough to prevent usage of the camera in all modes.

    The pros for the F4:

    System camera, can be made big or small, depending on what you want, and has four different finders, plus a bunch of focusing screens.
    Will matrix meter with AI/AIS Nikkors, but not AI'd Nikkors, due to those lenses missing the lens speed post on the rear element baffle
    Traditional control layout without LCD's on the top cover
    Ability to manually rewind the camera
    T mode for long exposures without wearing the batteries down - can also be used for longterm storage, fire shutter on "T", wait a few seconds until click is heard, then move shutter speed dial off "T". Shutter is left uncocked, but mirror is locked up.
    100% viewfinder coverage, like all other F-series Nikons

    Cons:

    Will not work with G lenses in M or A modes
    Focus can be slow at times - lithium AA's help a lot
    Single focus point, compared to five for the F100

    F100 pros:

    Smaller package
    Newer with a more current interface
    Fully compatible with G lenses, except, of course with DX lenses, which won't do full-frame, obviously
    More advanced matrix metering system
    Backlit negative LCD display
    Five focusing points that light up in red and faster AF - can still get confused and hunt, though
    More advanced flash circuitry, similar to N90s, but with rear curtain sync controlled by camera, instead of flash
    10-pin remote socket that can also be used with other cables to download image data to a PDA or a computer, etc

    Cons:

    More electronics, even the DOF preview is motorized instead of a mechanical linkage as in earlier cameras
    Metering mode switch will eventually become tempermental
    No ADR, so no apertures in the viewfinder with non-AF Nikkors
    96% viewfinder coverage
    Rubberized covering, while it feels nicer, can get sticky after a while and sometimes needs to be reglued
    Centerweighted meter is closer to Nikon F3 in bias, so it's almost a spotmeter
    Aforementioned plastic rewind fork
    No manual override of rewinding
    Only two focusing screens, either the B or the E - is possible to modify an FM2n or FM3a screen to fit, however.

    Both cameras are nice. I have both, although, my F100 is the digi version, also known as the D1H.

    -J
     
  26. sepiareverb

    sepiareverb Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    St Johnsbbury Vermont
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I can't think of any way to skew the program mode like with an F100...