Nikon N90S vs F100

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by newcan1, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    I own 2 N90s's and I think they are awesome. One has a data back, and both have the MB10 battery adapter. But I see so many raves about the F100 that I am wondering what I am missing. I am also drawn to possibly spending money that I don't have to buy an F100, even though I have more 35mm Nikons than fingers on my hands.

    As far as I can tell, looking at the specs, the F100 as a matter of fact and logic doesn't have much that the F90s doesn't, at least that I would use -- except for multiple autofocus sensors.

    So I would love to hear from those of you who own both models, to give me your two cents' worth as to what I am missing, if anything.
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have the N75 and F100. The F100 is the best 35mm camera that Nikon made. Move advanced than the F4. The F5 added weight for an unneeded motor drive and excess weight for ballast.
     
  3. benveniste

    benveniste Subscriber

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    I don't own both models, but when I finally decided to get my first autofocus camera I first bought a N90s, decided I didn't like it and went with the considerably (to me) more expensive F100 instead. Off the top of my head, I can remember the following differences:

    -- I found the ergonomics of the F100 to be far more to my tastes than the N90s. That's purely subjective.
    -- The F100 has a 96% viewfinder, the N90s has a 92% finder.
    -- In manual mode, the F100 gives you two stops of metering feedback instead of just one.
    -- The F100 allows you to set aperture in 1/3 stops on the camera instead of using the aperture ring. This also means it can use "G" lenses in manual or aperture priority mode.
    -- The F100 supports VR
    -- In S or P mode, the depth of field preview on the N90s always stops down to the minimum aperture. The F100 will stop down to the indicated aperture.
    -- The F100 has a command dial on the vertical grip. (Not an issue for me, I don't own the grip!)
    -- The F100 can autobracket with the standard back.
    -- The F100 has Slightly more advanced matrix metering (Okay, I looked it up...10-segment vs. 8-segment)
    -- I think the F100's shutter is rated for more shots.

    Is it worth "trading up" at this late date? I'd say the two best reasons are a) VR, and b) is if you also shoot Nikon dSLR's. I find switching between the F100, D200, and D800 to be quite easy, with the controls falling to hand naturally. Nikon's also made some excellent new lenses in the last few years, but with the exception of the PC-E lenses they are all "G" designs without aperture rings.
     
  4. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    I perfer the controls on the n90s. It's more traditional.
     
  5. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    Looking at benveniste's very informative comments (for which thank you), there isn't much that would be important to me right now, although some things that might be down the road.

    - Ergonomics: I have a D70 and D100, similar to the F100 - but I really like the hold and feel of the N90s, even though different.
    - 96% vs 92% viewfinder; blah.
    - metering feedback; I'm kind of used to my Nikkormats, so any feedback is a bonus.
    - aperture stops: this is useful when using AF lenses, but I doubt it applies to AI lenses, and most of mine currently are AI. And for some reason, I dislike G lenses even though I have some; they just seem incomplete!
    - I don't have any VR lenses -- yet
    - I seldom use S or P mode
    the rest is not important to me; and the N90s can autobracket with the data back, which I have

    I guess there are some differences that could become important to me down the road, which will keep alive my desire to acquire an F100 with money I don't have. But thus far, I'm encouraged that for me at least, I'm probably not missing too much.
     
  6. Aja B

    Aja B Member

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    As a matter of fact and logic you would appear to be correct.:laugh:
     
  7. Minarik

    Minarik Member

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    I have two F100s. Both with vertical grip. In my opinion The F100 has the best ergonomics among the Nikon film cameras with or without the grip.
    The metering is great. Build like a tank. It works with all of my newest lenses too.

    I also have an F5. I prefer the F5 when the weight and size are not an issue. The strong AF a big plus for my D lenses. It also has a self checking system. If you will looking for new toy in the future, go with the F5. You will save on gym fee too. :smile:
     
  8. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I have had 4 N90s, still have 1, have an F100, and an F5 too.

    The biggest practical differences I have found between the N90s and the F100 are the grip and being able to focus with the AF ON button. The F100 is nicer to hold and for me focusing with my thumb rather than my index finger is really special. Beyond that the N90s has been every bit as capable a camera, IMO.
     
  9. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    Like most of the posts here I too like the F100. I have used most of Nikon's AF cameras since they first came onto the market and the F100 is perhaps the best of them all. The metering is as near perfect as you could wish for. I have yet to loose a Colour Transparency through faulty exposure (Other reasons yes, but not exposure). The F90 I found a little awkward to hold and didn't fit my (rather large) hands very easily. The motor was noisy and so was the focussing.

    If there was to be an improvement needed for the F100 then I would ask for a full frame viewfinder like the F4/5/6 models, plus an easier way of attaching the remote release, it is too cramped for me to get a good purchase on the locking collar.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2013
  10. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

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    I also find the F100 remote release tricky to attach. This bothers me because I use a remote for most of my shots. I tend to use the F100 less because of that issue.
     
  11. dorff

    dorff Member

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    My advice: Don't buy toys with money you do not have, or should have really used for other priorities. And don't go looking for trouble - once you are in the midst of a GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) attack, it will be hard to get out of without damage done. Once your hobby becomes gear acquisition, it is a different hobby than photography. It is sometimes hard to distinguish between the two, but having tried both, I think photography is more fun and better for your overall well-being.
     
  12. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    I have both the F90X and the F100
    In bright light the F90X finder is much better since info can be hard to read in the F100.
    Approx 1/2 stop accuracy vs 1/3 stop accuracy doesn't make much difference, especially not when shooting B&W. Even with colorslides I have been more than happy with the result from my F90X. The Ergonomics wise the F100 shines and it baances better with large heavy lenses e.g. 85mm F/1.4 but I use both and if you don't need another camera stick with what youve got its plenty good enough.
    Best regards
     
  13. epig

    epig Member

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    +1 this one. I am still shaving down thousands of dollars of debt from 10 years of GAS for gear I "needed", esp. after reading various camera forums, reviews, etc.

    If the desire is burning inside, put $10 in a "F100 Jar" every month for a year. In one year you'll have cash to pay for a clean used body, if you still have that burning desire.

    If you can't pay cash, you can't afford it!

    Eric
     
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  15. jeff.blackwell

    jeff.blackwell Member

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    I have two N90S's and an F100. I remain torn between the two. The F100 is ergonomically superior, with a far more comfortable grip. However, it is also quite a bit lighter in weight than the N90s, and when using a big heavy lens the greater weight of the N90S provides better balance. With my 80 - 200 mm lens, the F100 feels somewhat front heavy. All that said, I also have an F4, which I love, but using it now seems like a workout compared to either of the other models. If anyone would like to trade an F100 in good condition for the F4 or one of the N90S's, please contact me. I'm not getting any younger, and I fear one day I'll join the heathens shooting with cell phones, just due to the weight of my equipment.
     
  16. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    I like the idea of an F100 jar. I think I'll do it!
     
  17. MFstooges

    MFstooges Member

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    I had N90s and really liked it except for one thing : the vertical grip doesn't have extra shutter speed/command dial. I actually prefer N90s ergonomic than Nikon's newer models (I used my friend's F100 once and wasn't really impressed).
     
  18. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean here, but the F90X does have 1/3 stop adjustment to the shutter speed, exposure compensation is in 1/3 and even the Program shift is in 1/3. The exposure graphic on the viewfinder only shows 1 stop either way, but in 1/3. BTW, exposure compensation is up to +- 5 stops!

    To the OP
    The question you have to ask is: are you happy with your 2 F90X?
    I am more than happy with my F90X. So much so, that I bough 4 of them! All are in excellent working condition and no "sticky rubber" or peeling backs!. BTW, the F100 suffers a bit from the same, but it is different: the rubber becomes sticky in some, but never heard of it peeling away. The same goes for the F80.
    Here in the UK, I didn't pay more than £45 for any of mine, while a F100 in good condition on sale with a reputable seller goes for £140-160.

    This is the way I normally use my cameras:
    Camera in Aperture Priority mode. I use my left hand to cradle the lens from bellow and the thumb and index fingers to zoom/focus. To change aperture is with the thumb and middle or the ring finger. My right hand has a firm grip on the camera with the index finger hovering the shutter button, ready to fire or to move across to the exposure compensation button. The thumb is free to move to the command dial to change values for the exposure compensation.

    I don't have a F100, but I do have the F80 with the same "modus operandi" as the F100.
    I found awkward to have the index finder of the right hand to change apertures and then move it up to the shutter button. It isn't as quick as it is operating an aperture ring on the F90X.

    One thing the F100 has is the Custom Functions are integrated on the body and are about the same as the ones for the F90X available via a PC software. That is the one accessory I haven't: I'm missing the specific cable to connect the F90X to a PC. The software is now freely available: it is the Softalk 2000, usable with any F90 series, F100 and F5, here: http://www.cocoon-creations.com/COCOON-NiCommSoftTALK-98-Features.shtml. I would love to have the Easy Exposure Compensation in A mode, but need that cable.
    Have a good shooting!
     
  19. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    If you don't have the money and you already have 2 N90? Don't buy the F100. Whatever the F100 is better than the N90 is not worth going in debt for it nor having to save money for a year for it.
     
  20. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    F100 without batteries: 785g
    F90X without batteries: 755g
    With the vertical grip F100 takes 6 AA batteries F90X 4. Adding to weight difference.
    Edit. Just had both on the kitchenscale. the F100 with vertical grip and batteries puts it at rest at 1273g. The F90X with vertical grip and batteries at 1123g.
    Best regards
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2013
  21. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Quite right. I was refering to the argument re. the Aperture increments. Ofcource you have 1/3 stop exposure accuracy just by using the shutterspeed dial. Didn't think it through there, sorry. :smile:
    Best regards
     
  22. Aja B

    Aja B Member

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    After adjusting the Customs Settings on the F100 one can operate the aperture setting with the: 1) thumb wheel or 2) aperture ring on lenses so equipped, which makes for stepless setting.

    newcan, I'll avoid the more personal matter of fiscal responsibilty and instead focus on where/what you may find more satisying than another body. You sound smitten. I don't think anyone has told you anything new about the F100. It's a lateral move from a 90. In terms of performance/handling/etc. there's nothing appreciably different to impress you. If your goal is acquisition, great...F100. If goal is otherwise (performance, handling, inspiration, fortune, fame and glory) I think your hard-earned dollars are better spent elsewhere, either refining or broadening horizons, just like the rest of us.
     
  23. dorff

    dorff Member

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    I think the F100 makes more sense for someone (like myself) who uses both film and digital systems, especially if the lenses are of G and/or VR type. Some of the newer lenses are very nice to be able to use on film (14-24; some of the VR's). In that sense it is not a lateral move. But that is not the OP's situation, I think. I agree he/she may find more reward in pursuing photographic possibilities than gear at this stage. I only became able to afford "better" gear in my mid-thirties. Looking back, I wish I had spent more of that money on travelling and day trips, rather than on gear that becomes obsolete all too soon.
     
  24. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    That's ok Soeren! It can be at times confusing as the early F90 had the shutter speeds in 1/2 stops increments. :smile:


    You're absolutely right Aja, sorry.
     
  25. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    You are partially correct; I do use digital equipment, but only reluctantly; and most of my equipment and lenses are from the film era, and very few lenses are autofocus. I like the electronic rangefinder on the N90s; it makes using AI lenses easy. I think the thread here has confirmed that for now at least, I'm not missing too much. Also I confess I rather like the ergonomics of the N90 - kind of old school. I will put my GAS on hold and make good use of what I already have - which is not inconsiderable. Thank you all for helping me with this!
     
  26. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    I think you made a good decision. I have several Nikons, the most modern is a N90s. I really like it and use is more than any of the others, and although I have never used a F100, I suspect the N90s if more technically capable than I am when it comes to photography. :smile: