*sigh* Nikon F5 vs F4s...

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by John_Nikon_F, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Decisions, decisions...

    Been offered an F5. Body's in decent shape, showing usual amounts of wear on the metal surfaces. However, the grip surfaces are sticky and are pulling away in spots, due to the previous owner regluing them in place and not doing a good job.

    I wouldn't mind having a body that's very similar to my D1H (er, F100D), but I did notice that the autofocus didn't seem much more responsive than my F4s. Granted, I was using a 28-70 AF-D zoom for my testing purposes. Both bodies did have Energizer lithiums installed. It was a little quicker, but not much quicker. Also seemed to be easily fooled in the same low-contrast situations that the AM200 module in the F4s was fooled.

    I'm being offered the F5 for $299. Trade-in is $140 on the F4s, and I'll probably have to purge the 105/2.8 Micro AIS as well to get the camera. Am trying to keep the cash outlay below $30, if I can. Will likely get a 55/3.5 or a nice 55/2.8 in a month or so to replace the 105/2.8, if I do this.

    From my previous experiences with both bodies, here are the pros and cons I've noticed:

    F4 pros:

    Matrix metering works with AI/AIS lenses
    non-AI lenses can be used without modifying the body
    The ultra-rare P screen is available
    Body can be shrunken down with a MB-20 battery pack
    Has "T" shutter speed setting for long exposures
    Classic 60/40 centerweighted metering pattern
    Dials

    F4 cons:

    Single point AF (not that big of a deal to me - D1H is always on the center point)
    AF can be slow with MB-20 or when using alkalines
    Grip material gets sweaty in the summer
    Camera sounds like it's sneezing when the shutter's fired and the motor drive advances the film
    LCD bleed is a common problem

    F5 pros:

    Lighter than F4s or F4e configurations
    Higher frame rate in Ch and CL modes
    3D Color Matrix metering
    More advanced flash metering capabilities
    Five-point AF
    Grip material doesn't sweat and is more comfortable (but does get sticky sometimes)
    Can do VR with lenses so equipped
    Fully compatible with G lenses

    F5 cons:

    Always one size - cannot be shrunk down to F100 size, if desired.
    Centerweighted metering pattern closer to F3 semi-spot than the classic pattern used on most MF Nikons and the F4, but identical to most AF non-pro bodies
    Too easy to squeeze off two frames on CH when you just want one
    LCD fade out is a problem on some bodies, but not anywhere as common as the LCD bleed on the F4's
    Less of a focusing screen choice, can't get the P screen with both a microprism collar and the diagonal split, instead have a choice of either microprism (J screen) or diagonal split (L screen) - however, it seems the screens are more common than the more esoteric F4 screens
    DOF preview is motorized
    Top cover looks like most AF Nikons with an LCD screen and two command dials

    It's tough to decide between the two. I'm tempted to stick with what I have for now, then see if I can sell some non-Nikon items and either pick up this F5 or a different one. What would you guys do? I will be leaving here at 11:00 AM PST to run errands. Will check the forum before I leave.

    -J
     
  2. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Don't sweat the rubber peeling off - this is a common problem with those cameras.

    Some of those pro's and con's are...umm, interesting. With respect, some of them are a bit of a reach -- "too easy to fire off too many frames on the F5 when on C-H mode". Umm, yeah, well turn the motor drive down, then.

    Size wise, they're both similar with the F5 being a newer body...presumably you'll go a longer time before something goes wrong, I suppose.

    Honestly, they're both terrific, solid cameras with great metering, lens compatibility, build quality and overall feel.

    In my personal experience (I've owned both, sometimes several times) and reading this forum, the main deciding factors always seem to boil down to the F4 bestowing matrix metering on older lenses, and the F5's superior (very much superior) autofocusing.
     
  3. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    True. Part of my problem is that both of my previous F5's were replaced with F4's. The first body had a half blank LCD in the viewfinder and was replaced with an F4s that had an MF-23, but also had LCD bleed issues which were minor compared to the F5's LCD issue. The second body was actually pretty clean with only minor scratches in the finish. Was an early model, in the 30189xx serial range. Was traded for an F4 that I owned in 2007, after said body returned to the camera shop, this time with an MB-20, instead of the MB-21 pack. The F4 was about a year older than the F5 was, being just below the 25xxxxx serial range. Like with the FM2's, I keep coming back to the F4's. Not sure what it is, but I just seem to like them a lot, even though they aren't as technologically advanced as the F5's are.

    I'll do some mulling over in my sleep and figure out what I want to do. Might also check the other shop in the area and see if their F5's are in better shape. I seem to remember them being the same price as the one I'm considering.

    -J
     
  4. Morituri

    Morituri Member

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    What exactly do you wish to achieve by buying a new camera? Is this some sort of a GSA (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)? Judging by your signature you have more then enough you will need for photography, if you want to have a change get a digital camera.

    I say don't sweat acquiring gear, move on and be content.
     
  5. rhmimac

    rhmimac Member

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    tempting... I own both F100 and F4S, F100 gets out rarely despite it's modern nature, love the F4S solid brick feeling and matrix on AIS lenses, F5 was for sale in my shop for 330€, so far could resist it ;-)

    rhmimac
     
  6. Leeston

    Leeston Member

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    Both excellent camera's, one being a more manual body, to me the F5 feels right, everything has a very solid feel about it and fits my hand and eye perfectly, I love the solid feel to it and all the functions have that "I will work forever" touch about it.

    I know from another forum that you are a real F4 man and I respect that but eventually I know you will have a F5 and love it.

    It is one of the few great models that is missing from your great list of acquisitions.
     
  7. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Lee, actually, I've had two. But, as mentioned above in my last post, I keep trading them toward F4 bodies. I guess old habits don't die. Ever since 2005, when it became possible to get film bodies for dirt cheap, I've been on this buying & selling binge where I use something for a couple months, then sell it off, only to buy another just like it within 1-6 months. Luckily, the F5 hasn't been cheap enough for me to do that, so I've only had two, compared to the eight F4's, etc...

    Here's what I currently own:

    F4s
    F2AS
    F FTn with drive
    a couple Nikomat FTn's, one black that I got for a dollar and change, and a chrome that was just overhauled
    FM2 that needs work
    D1H (off-topic version of F100)

    Lens-wise:

    24/2.8 Nikkor-N AI'd
    35/2.8 Nikkor-S AI'd
    50/1.8 AF Nikkor
    50/2 Nikkor AI
    85/1.8 Nikkor AI'd
    105/2.8 Micro-Nikkor AIS
    180/2.8 Nikkor-P AI'd.

    The Hasselblad gear is gone for now. Came to the realization that I should wait on it and just shoot the Nikon stuff for now.

    If I go with another F5, the F4s, 105/2.8, probably the black Nikomat, and maybe the 50/2 will be disappearing from the list. I'll know more when I actually go look at the bodies @ Glazer's Camera in Seattle. If I can get the same deal there, I may do it. If not, then I'll just stick with my F4s.

    -J
     
  8. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    I've owned both. F4 is junk compared to the F5. Never looked back. Ultimately the weight of the F5 convinced me to switch to the F100. Only thing missed is the high motor drive speeds of the F5.
     
  9. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    You will know what a reasonable price for a F5 is in the U.S. in good condition but if I were offered one in the U.K. for the equivalent of $299 from a commercial business and not a private sale where I could vouch for the condition I'd be wary.

    In the U.K. a F5 being sold for only $299 suggests it has seen a lot of use and may not be in the best of condition. In fact I don't think I have ever seen one being sold this cheaply.

    Just a thought

    pentaxuser
     
  10. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    The UK market does seem to be inflated, price-wise. The F5 does come with a 60 day warranty and a 14 day return policy. I've also dealt with both shops for many years. One shop for 19 years, and the other for the past 5-6 years. I've never paid more than $325 for an F5 over the past three years.

    -J
     
  11. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Have you considered an F100? It is newer technology and has the option of being compact or larger with the battery pack attached. I started using mine (very recently) without the battery pack and I absolutely love it! It is a surprisingly well-built camera and is a fast performer. Think about it as a D1H with a removable battery pack.
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I agree with this post.
     
  13. djacobox372

    djacobox372 Member

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    Naw, $299 is a normal price for a f5 in fair condition from a private party.

    I sold two f5's recently for $375, but each were in mint condition.

    $140 for an F4s without any issues is pretty low. I'd be asking something closer to $200.
     
  14. djacobox372

    djacobox372 Member

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    One major advantage of the F100 over the F5 is the ability to see which autofocus point you have selected. With the F5, it's like playing a game of battleship. :wink:
     
  15. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    Keep the F4.
    Skip the F5.
    Get an F100.
    Trade everything, including the Volvo, for an F6.

    :whistling:
     
  16. mysticeyes

    mysticeyes Member

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    If you had neither of these cameras, you should get the F4 if you work with manual focus lenses most of the time, the F5 if you use autofocus most of the time. Both are great cameras but, technologically, the F5 is much more advanced - VR, much faster autofocus, all metering modes available with G lenses, color matrix, etc...I love my F4, but the main thing it has over the F5 is that it takes much longer to go through a set of batteries.

    But since you already have a good F4, this particular F5, with its known issues, doesn't seem like a very good trade. Perhaps you should wait for a near-mint one to come along for a really good price? Or at least one that wasn't beaten up by a newspaper photographer.

    Maybe you should just find an F6.:smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2010
  17. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Thinking in the long term, I'd say a superior electronic camera (F5, or the F100 which is an excellent suggestion) along with one or two mechanical, all-manual cameras (FM2, etc) would be wise to add to your working group.

    The only real advantage of the F5 over an F100 is the faster motor drive, and frankly that only matters in sports shooting (the F5's servo is fantastic, I remember being amazed by it 14 years ago).
     
  18. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Still own the F4. The $299 F5 is actually cosmetically worse than my F4, so it doesn't make sense, especially with it seeming to have the same issues that an F4 normally has, AF-wise. I'd be essentially getting N90 performance AF-wise with high frame rate, a mirror lockup, and ability to rewind manually.

    The $140 value is wholesale, and is what they'd offer as trade-in, which is better than what KEH offered on their online quote wizard for an EX grade body. My F4 is about high-BGN grade. Has some wear, but nothing major. The bodies I saw @ Glazer's Camera are similar to my F4 cosmetically. They are a bit older than the one I was thinking about getting from Kenmore Camera, but there's no stickiness and the rubber is all intact. Some scratches on the prism and the top covers, but still nice looking. They also seem to AF a lot faster, even though the batteries I tried with them were Duracells, instead of the Energizers. The only issue is that one's priced at $399, and the other's priced @ $429. One of the guys there is going to see if he can get the price of the $399 body down to $325-$340. I might be able to do that, but would have to add some more gear in with the deal. Might have to remove the battery pack from the F-36 drive and just use the F as a manual camera again, with the drive unpowered... Dunno. Will find out Friday.

    -J
     
  19. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    This is a very personal choice, but I own both cameras and I use the F5 the most out of all my 35mm cameras (and I have a bunch). I like the feel of the F4 and I do use it a fair amount, particularly with manual lenses, but its autofocus performance is significantly inferior to that of the F5.

    I bought my F5 in KEH EX condition for about $400 three or four years ago. It's come down a little since then, I think.
     
  20. petefoto

    petefoto Member

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    nikon F4 body is the best platform for manual focus nikon lens, even stick lens babies and holga lenses on them

    you get metering, range finder focusing aids, run on aa batteries and are cheap
     
  21. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Sig says all. Was able to trade the F4s with the 105/2.8 Micro (yes, I'll miss that from time to time, but at least it wasn't my 85/1.8) and an SB-80DX that I got for $20 toward the F5. Price on the F5 was dropped from $399 to $299, so I wound up paying $4.38. Also had a brand new pair of Energizer Ultimate Lithiums thrown in for free to supplement the six I pulled from the F4s at time of the trade-in.

    Body is in pretty nice shape with only minor wear on the DP-30 and near the strap lug on the rewind side. Is the 4,005th body made.

    -J
     
  22. film_man

    film_man Member

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    I'd never sell a lens to replace a camera with the next generation model. Especially when we're talking film cameras. It generally ends up buying the lens again, losing more money! But anyway, enjoy your new/old/new/reunited/reacquired camera :D
     
  23. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    In my case, the 105/2.8 is a lens I will miss, not due to the focal length or speed, but due to being a macro lens. It was too close to my 85/1.8 to really be a lens I'd use frequently. So, I will likely get a 55-60mm macro instead. If I can find a user 60/2.8 Micro-Nikkor, that'd be ideal, since it'd be a lens that I could loan to my sister for when she wanted to do macro photography with her off-topic D90, which won't meter with manual Nikkors. I'd have to add a prong to it, for use with the F FTn and the Nikomat, but, it'd work on all of the Nikons we own.

    -J
     
  24. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    You only get my F5 out of my cold tead hands, as long is I can breath you don't get mine! But it was my first Nikon and I got it new and not missused!
    Same for my F100 and FM2 Titan!
    I would never change a F 5 for an F 4 never!!!!

    Cheers Armin