Another survey.Nikon F4s or F3hp.
I actually met two fellows yesterday who owned the full manual Nikon F3hp and they said it was the best shooter ,bar none.Thought I might ask the APUG community their opinion.
Thank you for your time.
Being an amateur I choose cameras that gives me the most pleasure. I have owned both a F3 and a F4. Both are very good cameras. Even so, I have sold both of them and have been a happy F2 user for several years now.
If you decide to buy an F3, and don’t wear glasses; get one with a regular viewfinder. It has higher magnification than the HP finder.
I have numerous F3s, no direct experience of F4s, but I would say this latter is newer, considerably bulkier and heavier, has autofocus of course, is possibly a better prospect for extensive motor drive use, will cost more and be harder to find. The F3 does everything I ask of an SLR (including offering mirror lock-up for photomicroscopy, etc.) and can be found for little money (but very likely in need of a CLA). As with all Nikons, go for a cherished amateur-owned model, in pro hands a Niikon will soak up a lot of punishment but will wear out eventually.
Originally Posted by Mike Kennedy
f4 has a much faster flash synch speed than the f3. Of course: depending on what you want out of it, that might matter a lot or nothing.
f4 also has an inbuilt diopter adjust - invaluable for tired eyes like mine - and the metering is spot, cw and matrix. It will take all modern lenses including G-type, only doesn't do VR. The f3 has screw-in adjusts and the meter is just cw. You can only use standard non-AF or AF non-G lenses. Which is the majority of them anyway!
The f3 is much lighter than the "traditional" f4s. On the other hand, if you get a f4 with the small 4-AA MB20 grip and the multi-function data back MF23, it's not that much heavier than a f3 with motor drive and it likely is less bulky as well as much more egonomic and can do a lot of extra things courtesy of the back. I particularly like the imprint of speed and aperture data between the frames.
Oh, I forgot: the f4 has a very well dampened mirror slap while the f3 is a bit more f2-ish (if that makes any sense - only way I know how to explain it...). Basically:
I can shoot the f4 handheld at lower shutter speeds than any other camera except the ZM rangefinder.
I use a f4 with mb20 and mf23, as well as f2as with a md3. Used a f3 back in the 80s but never quite liked the slow flash synch and the general feel of it. This is not to say it is a bad camera! Just not my cuppa.
Last edited by nsouto; 08-30-2008 at 08:35 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Noons (Nuno Souto)
F3HP, F2 Photomic. The F3 is a more recent acquisition, I've had the F2 for quite a while. The F3 would have to be the most versatile 35mm SLR I've ever owned.
Since I'm a amateur, I don't require other features like higher flash sync and autofocus. I have a motor drive for the
F3 but seldom use it.
The F3 is lightweight and has a AE feature which turns it into more of a snap shooter when I want it. My F2 still works perfectly, but has become a little precious to me, so gets used on occasion. The F3 gets the brunt of the 35mm work.
I've been told that the F4 may have an edge when shooting slides, so I am considering one, but I think for the most, part I'd still shoot the F3.
I wear glasses so the F3HP appealed to me, but since I like to get my eye close to the finder I since bought a diopter and a eyecup. So the idea of the non "HP" version may be a consideration.
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All cameras are boxes that keep the light out until you open the shutter.
Nikon F, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6 are total crap without a good lens, and most importantly a talented operator.
Forget about the camera. It is not a symbol of your artistic talents. It is only 'male jewelry' to be worn like a necklace.
So get a box that works for you, not what others tell you. Then spend real money on lenses for they sharp the image to match your creative vision.
I've used all the above cameras, except the F6, professionally. I prefer the FM2 over all of them.
Here's a truncated list of my clients if you don't trust what I've said (the list does not include the 4 years I was a staff photographer and photo editor for USA Today): http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Cheers/Clients.html
I am biased, go with the F3HP, you won't be disappointed.
"Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
"Forget about the camera. It is not a symbol of your artistic talents. It is only 'male jewelry' to be worn like a necklace."
I think we know this. I think Mike Kennedy was looking for simple opinions.
The guy who works at my favorite gas station is named Ernie. He looked at my cameras and definitely prefers my F3 but advised me I need at quart of 10-30.
The FM2 is possibly the best little Nikon body that Nikon has ever made. It does have some shortcomings.
The FM2 doesn’t have a viewfinder with a 100% coverage of the frame, it has about 92 or 93%. This is all right most times but it can be a bit dodgy when you use some interesting lenses, especially very wide angle ones.
The non removable prism of the FM2, whilst extremely strong, does restrict the cameras ability to work with microscopes comfortably, sports viewfinders so you can view the whole image in focus whilst wearing a motorcycle crash helmet, waist level finder for when the camera is hard up against a wall, or attach the waist level 6x magnification finder for super critical focus whilst using a set of bellows or extension rings.
Whilst the FM2 can do a mirror lockup, it can only do this by using the self timer, this isn’t a bad thing, but if you wish to use extreme wide angle lenses or for some other scientific applications, you do the need the mirror lock up facility of the F3. Mirror lockup is also very handy when using bellows and very long exposures.
The FM2 does have a motor drive capability, but it realistically only winds the film on, however the ergonomics of the camera with the MD-12 drive fitted, are really good for some things. The F3 with it’s MD4 drive, also winds the film on, plus it re-winds the film, if you desire, it can also be set to expose a continuous set of frames, up to a pre-set amount or number. The MD4 drive can also be set to a couple of speeds, plus you can also run the motor drive (and the whole camera) from a mains supply and also use a regulated frame speed with that configuration.
This mains supply system is quite useful when using bulk film backs, they do drain power. The F3 only has the possibility of a 250 frame bulk back, the F2 has the possibility of adding a 750 frame back, this holds a full 30m of film and it will drain a set of batteries from the motor drive after two lots of film goes through.
The FM2 uses centre weighted metering, most people will tell you that the F3 uses the same set-up, not really. The F3 has a 12mm centre ring on most of the 20 interchangeable focusing screens you can use. About 80% of the light meter light, is gathered through this very central section, effectively giving you a near spot meter capability which will vary between the different lenses that are attached, but generally speaking will give you somewhere between a 20° to about a 5° meter reading, very, very handy.
The FM2 does have a databack, but it is a basic one compared to the F3 which can have an array of choices, including the MF-18 which imprints the data in-between the film frames, instead of in the image area.
The FM2 has a nice small body, compared to the F3 and does fit into a pocket (without a lens) easier than the F3.
Extremes of weather, especially cold, are the bane of most things electrical with cameras, the F3 is no exception! The FM2 is the king when it comes to cold, it just keeps on going. In extreme cold I have used an external battery pack for my F3 to keep it going very well in temperatures around –25°C or lower.
I myself run a couple of F3 bodies, I suppose it is a piece of jewellery, perhaps I’ll ask my wife the next time she uses her F3 as to why she is using a piece of male jewellery.
PS:- the FM2 body is possibly the second best Nikon body for absolute functional ability, but it is certainly the best body for something that holds film and will keep on working day in and day out. The later FM2 bodies with the F-801 shutter (since 1989) are the best ones to get.
It's difficult to choose between these two cameras. They are different in so many ways.
The F3HP is a joy to use. It's very well made. It's relatively small for its build quality, and it's great if you prefer to use aperture priority. Metered manual is okay but the metering display is not my favourite. Using flash is tricky because there is no traditional hot shoe. Flash sync is quite slow (1/80 if memory serves). You can attach a motor drive and go like stink, or carry the camera without for portability.
The F4S will run autofocus lenses (including AF-S) and is the best AF body to use with manual Nikkors (matrix metering works with AI and newer lenses, although not AI-converted Nikkors). It has built-in spot metering that works with all lenses. It's got a faster motor drive if you like to be able to see what you're shooting (5.7 fps versus 5 fps; the F3 can do 6 fps if you lock the mirror up though). It can be made small with an MB-20 grip but these grips are in short supply and are expensive.
I have one of each and I like both, but they are not at all alike.
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?