F3+MD4 noise is an exaggeration of the typical movie's camera+winder noise: Loud, long, remarkable.
Comparison F3+MD4 sound vs. F5: brrrzzziiiiiii: vs. chonk!.
I think you observed this differences because you use AA alkaline batteries with your MD-4. The MD-4 with alkaline only advances the film at 3.8 fps with the mirror working and when I used my MD-4 with the MN-2 and it's over 5fps with the working mirror so the sound isn't much different from that of the F5 with near 8fps (as it operates on AA).
Well, I went to Glazer's Camera and wow... They have a lot of nice cameras there! Not cheapest but they seem to have good stock!
After testing F3 w/ MD4 and the F5... I actually ended up with an F4s (with the MB21?) and a databack!
The F3 with MD4 was loud with motor drive on. No surprise there. Love the sound tho. The good thing is that I could put the motor drive into "L" (lock it) and the F3 could fire without motor drive. Good if I needs the quiet but there was still a pretty loud "clack" from F3 mirror.
The F5 was nice but it was starting to push out of my tight budget. Also it wasn't as quiet as I thought it would be. This thing was built for the really fast frames but not a silent machine.
The F4s actually just came in so was surprised to see it. It's not super silent but it was pretty stealthy. The Cs mode won me over! Thunk!-clickclickclick.
My own subjective rating of "loudness" would be:
Nikon F3 w/ MD4 on (loudest)
Nikon F3 w/ MD4 off
Nikon F4 on Cs mode (softest)
I would have gone with the F5. I've had nothing but unbelievably bad luck with used Nikon F series bodies. I have two F2's and two F3's and to be honest every single one has problems. The F2's I've given up hope for so that's why I've went up to the F3. Now I have two F3's that aren't reliable. In my mind, a used F5 will have a lot less heavy use then these older F2's and F3's thereby saving one the headache of trying to get them serviced and loosing one roll after another.
Sorry to hear that. My Nikon F3 has been pretty flawless for the most part. Mostly user error. Guess I've been pretty blessed with working units (so far). The F5 I tried in the shop was pretty beat up (of course, it was the cheapest one). Despite being newer, I don't think that would've lasted long before a service was required. I could "feel" the wear in my hands with buttons and things not as tight as they should be.