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  1. #1

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    The Nikon F4s or The Nikon F5?

    I've been considering it for a long time, and finally I've decided to just go ahead with it.

    I'm ready to put down for a quality camera system; something that should last me some time. I've narrowed it down too, but I've never been good with decisions. Especially the little ones.

    And thus, I am here to share my burden.

    Both cameras are extremely rugged (after sifting through endless reviews, that much seems to be consistent). The F4 has its expansive lense compadibility going for it, whereas the F5 has the benefit of technology (faster autofocus, RGB metering, ect) though this isnt without added weight. My focus is documentary photography, so I need something that is reasonably fast and accurate. A lighter camera may lend itself more to walking and shooting, but I have no problem getting a workout if it's worth the added weight.

    I plan on buying from KEH (and becoming a repeat customer if they're everything I hear) and I'd like to buy an inexpensive (not to be confused with cheap) prime lens to test the camera out. I'm not yet familiar with Nikon's line yet, so any help there would be invaluable. Yes, this being my first Nikon, I have a long road ahead of me.

    Now, if you're still with me, I'd like to say thanks in advance for all the help and for sticking with film. Of course, it isn't as if we have a viable alternative.
    Last edited by Andrew West; 02-10-2007 at 02:01 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
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    I haven't used the F4 but I have an F5 which I bought recently off ebay. This camera is the biz. 3 different types of metering (including RGB), Mirror Lock Up, Custom modes coming out of the wazoo and very fast autofocus. One downside is that with AIS lenses you lose matrix metering and it is heavy. What are you mainly shooting?

  3. #3

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    Something I've had in mind is a photo documentary cataloging the daily happenings of, and the various characters that make up a small town.

    So, candids, improvised portraits, ect. I suppose what I'm really looking for is a reliable camera.

    The F5 sounds like a nice, "little" camera to toy with. It doesn't seem to be a common problem, but I know a few people out there had an issue with the rubber covering peeling off. Have you ran into anything like that?
    Last edited by Andrew West; 02-10-2007 at 02:46 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4

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    Bascially, if you want to mostly use autofocus, you would likely be much happier with an F5. If you would prefer using manual focus, or using older lenses, then the F4 will allow matrix metering with non-chip Nikon lenses; something not possible with the F5.

    I picked up an F4S from KEh recently, in BGN condition. I was surprised at how nice the condition of this body was when it arrived. I did add the Dk-2 eyepiece, and later on I got a J screen, since I only use manual focus lenses. I found the prices better at KEH than EBAY.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio

  5. #5

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    There's also the F6, which is the best of both worlds (Matrix metering with MF lenses and even better AF than the F5).

    But the basic difference comes down to 'do you want an AF camera or do you want an MF camera that AF's in a pinch?'. The F4 is a MF camera that AF's in a pinch. The F5 is an AF camera first and foremost.

  6. #6
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    The F5 is the clear answer for me (and I bought one so this isn't just lip service). It's 98% of the camera the F6 is and it's 1/4 the price.

    The F4 is cheaper and it's also a great camera but the motor drive is slower, the AF is a pale shadow of the F5's, and, by nature, is going to be older and more likely to be closer to needing repair. The only real advantages of the F4 to me are the matrix metering with manual lenses (not a big issue) and the out-of-the-box compatibility with non-AI lenses (also not a big issue). I have a few lenses that were once non-AI but got them AI modified. it's far more convenient since you get full-aperture metering on AI bodies and no impairment of function on non-AI bodies (if you even have any such bodies).
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  7. #7

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    I know the F4 motor drive is slower but how many people need faster? If you're shooting shorter prime lenses are you really going to see a big difference in AF speed?

    OTOH it seems F5 prices have dropped to very close to F4 prices now.

    OTOH you could look at the F100 instead of the F5.

  8. #8
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena View Post
    I know the F4 motor drive is slower but how many people need faster? If you're shooting shorter prime lenses are you really going to see a big difference in AF speed?

    OTOH it seems F5 prices have dropped to very close to F4 prices now.

    OTOH you could look at the F100 instead of the F5.
    It's not a question of need, but yet another advantage of the F5. No one *needs* HDTV either.

    F5s are more than F4s, but the autofocus improvement alone makes the increment worthwhile to me.

    The F100 is a great camera (I've owned one for a few years) but so far I like the F5 better. The F100 is smaller which is occasionally good. Since I have both, it's not an issue for me.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  9. #9
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    I have owned an F4s since 1989, and added an F5 3 years ago.
    I sold the F5 again last year, because I did not like it.

    I especially did not like the way the F5 handled. I prefer proper buttons and dials over push-button-and-dial operations.

    Faster autofocus was never a concern for me - I found out some time ago that no autofocus in the world does the trick for me. I am faster, more reactive and just as accurate focussing anywhere on the screen - providing the screen is bright enough.

    I have no real use for a motor either - I could just as well do with a film advance lever. The idea that I can take 20 pictures in a row to make sure that I have one that contains the right moment never worked for me.

    I did not like the Matrix metering on either the F4 or F5. My best results were made by spot-metering and using the cameras in manual mode. Again, I found that much easier to use on the F4.

    All this of course reflects only my way of work. Both cameras are absolutely phantastic - but if you prefer a camera that has no LCD display but proper buttons that show you the settings directly, the F4 should be your choice.

    In addition to that, the F4 is substantially smaller than the F5 when you use the small battery pack - and that can be a really big advantage.

    By the way, I sold all my Nikon gear last year and use Contax now exclusively - again, not because the quality or the results with the Nikons were in any way bad. It is just that after I have used the Contax RTS III and the S2 for a while, I found that I never used the Nikons again, just because these cameras accomodated my way of work much better.

    So - how do you work? Once you know that, you will know which camera is for you.

    Good luck

    Ansgar

  10. #10
    Thanasis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew West View Post
    Something I've had in mind is a photo documentary cataloging the daily happenings of, and the various characters that make up a small town.

    So, candids, improvised portraits, ect. I suppose what I'm really looking for is a reliable camera.

    The F5 sounds like a nice, "little" camera to toy with. It doesn't seem to be a common problem, but I know a few people out there had an issue with the rubber covering peeling off. Have you ran into anything like that?

    Well the F5 is very reliable. Next time you get a chance I recommend that you pick one up to feel how it fits with your hands. I love it, but some don't.

    It can be quite imposing for candid photography. It stands out due to it's size.

    I got mine practically unused so I have not come across any unpeeling rubber grip.

    regards,
    Thanasis.

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