Expanding my Nikon System
I've had a decent clearout of cameras I'm not using enough these days with the intention of spending the money on expanding my nikon manual focus system.
First, i have the following
Nikon FE2, which is the best Japanese compact manual focus SLR I've ever used. So butter smooth, full control - but so effortless you barely realise its there. Couldn't be happier with it and don't expect to move systems any time soon.
For it I have
Nikon E series 50mm f1.8, which i like for its compactness
Nikkor-O Ai-Converted 35mm F2, which is a decent lens, plenty sharp and nice and fast for easy focus. (Just don't point it near the sun). I also love its close focusing.
Vivitar 28mm f2.5, BBAR MC, which I'm not too fond of, but can't quite put my finger on why.
Sigma Super-Wide II MC 24mm f2.8, which i've yet to play with properly, wanted it over the legendary 24mm nikkor because it focuses close and is under half the price.
And a completely seperate autofocus setup
Nikon D70, which I feel dirty using, and we'll speak no more of.
Sigma 24-60, which is a nice focal length for me
Sigma 70-300, worse lens ever, but i barely touch the longer focal lengths so it makes no sense to invest decent money here.
Sigma 12-24, which i don't use enough. Also, its G, which frankly is trying to fix something which was ever broken.
Limitations I'm not enjoying
FE2's metering is better than any other compact manual focus SLR i've used, but still somewhat basic. I'm ok with exposure compensation, but matrix metering on the F90X seems to get it right a lot more often than the FE2 with me behind it.
I've got only one body for each "setup", if I don't finish a roll, I'm stuck with it the next time I go out.
I've been considering an F4 with MB-20 (I want to keep the weight down, I've got to carry it). 4 Frame per second limits aren't a concern, frankly thats £5-10's worth of film gone in 10 seconds, which is scary!
Reasoning, its a good to excellent manual focus abilities. Its an "Ok" autofocus camera. So can be a reasonable second AF body.
Matrix metering sorts my naff exposure skills.
How much slower is the F4 than the F90 for autofocus?
Is the F4 good for manual focus?
Has the F4 got a horrible electronicy feel to it?
How heavy is it compared to the F90X?
I'm reading bad things about NIMH batterys in the MB-20, are they just rubbish?
I'm also hankering after
An 28mm f2, its faster and easier to focus, but a decent chunk of cash
A nikon 50mm F1.4, want something that bit faster
A macro lens - but i see nothing but warnings about the 55mm 2.8 Macro and oil problems.
Any thoughts on these lenses
Last edited by Wishy; 06-29-2009 at 05:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
If you enjoy the FE2..................Ya gotta get an F3HP.One beautiful camera!!
You know, I have my F100 in the classifieds...
The F100 is a great camera. I love mine, but I like Canon lenses more. :\
Many, many people speak highly of the F4 and F5.
(I also have my 35mm ƒ/2 in the classifieds, which is a fine lens. Sharp. Not very different or special, though.)
The F3 has 80-20 center weighted metering, which isn't what I really want.
From a bit of further digging, to really use the F4 for manual focus, i might well want a Type K viewfinder. If i go for this option, does that mean i can't autofocus?
Presumably I can't replace the screens in the field.
There are so many ways to go here, it's not even funny.
The F4/F4S/F4E does seem to work for you though. Not only would it make a good autofocus body for your AF system, it makes a great manual body for your MF system because it supports matrix metering with AI Nikkors. (If I remember correctly it doesn't with AI-converted ones, though.) It's also a pleasure to use. AF is reasonable but not fast, comparable in speed to the F90x in a lot of ways but a little more inelegant (less sophisticated software, more powerful focus motor). It also supports AF-S and is the oldest Nikon to do so (the F90 was the first Nikon to "officially" support it, i.e. it was advertised as a feature and the lenses were intended to be out more or less with the release of the camera, but the engineers put the capability into the F4 too which is great.)
As for other second AF body choices, there are tons. The F100 and F5 come to mind (I have one of each and they are my main AF bodies although the F4 gets a fair bit of use).
For lenses there are a lot of choices. The 50/1.4 is a good one. I have the AF-D version and use it on AF and MF bodies. I also have an AF 85/1.8 that I use on both sets of hardware. The f/2.8 zooms are generally a pleasure to use in manual mode also. It seems wrong to put a 17-35/2.8D on an F3HP, but I do it anyway. The user experience is wonderful.
The 105/2.5 is a legendary Nikon portrait lens and I love mine. Mine is AI. The Nikkor 28s are great. The AI-S is probably the best f/2.8 one and best overall but the AF-D one is a close second, especially if you don't do a lot of close-up work. The manual focus feel is decent enough that you shouldn't hate using it on your FE2. The 28/2 has a great reputation but is pricey.
I don't own a Nikon 24 (I have it in my 17-35) but the Nikkor 24s are great. I don't think there is a bad one, whether it be f/2 or f/2.8.
Don't be too rigid with your gear. Cross it up. Buy AF lenses with the idea that you will use them on your FE2 also. Buy interesting MF lenses that will supplement your AF collection. It is a nice experience using a 105/2.5 on an F4, e.g. I don't even mind using it on the F5. Focusing is not as easy as with a manual body with the proper screen, but I do not find it to be that difficult.
The 55/3.5 Micro is a sleeper lens, probably not quite as good as the f/2.8 but cheap and reliable. The 2.8 is nice because it's fast enough to also use for general photography.
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?
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
Which 24mm Nikkor is legendary? None that I'm aware of. OTOH, both the 28mm f2 (all versions) and the 28mm f2.8 AIS close focusing lenses are noticeably better than any Nikon 24mm.
Originally Posted by Wishy
As for Macro - if I were you, I'd get a 90mm - probably either the Tamron 90mm f2.5, Tokina 90mm f2.5, or Vivitar Series 1 90mm f2.5. Those lenses are also superb general purpose short telephotos, something you don't seem to have in your arsenal.
If you prefer 55mm, the f3.5 is at least as sharp as the f2.8, costs around 1/2 as much in the market, and doesn't have a problem with oily diaphragm blades like the f2.8 does.
Nikon 50mm f1.4 AI is plenty nice.
As far as your wide angles, I think you'd be happier with fewer, but better lenses. IMHO, a really top notch 28mm, either the f2, or the AIS f2.8, would cover most of the applications where you are also using 24 and 35mm lenses that are merely decent.
And I agree that having one manual film body is a limitation. Nowadays, you can pick up a clean FE or FG for around $50 that will solve that limitation for you. I think you'd be much happier with one of these small bodies than a tank like the F4 - which, IMHO really is not a very good AF camera, but is a great, but huge, pro manual body.
From a cost standpoint, you could get an F100 and an FE for the same cost as an F4, and you'd be getting BOTH a small, compact MF film body, and as good an AF film body as Nikon ever made. If cost were an issue, I'd get another N90s/F90x instead of the F100, again, those can be gotten now for around $50, and they are much better in AF mode than the F4 is.
Last edited by dougjgreen; 06-29-2009 at 06:32 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Consider the F-100 as a great addition to the F-90x. Use one for black & white and one for color. The F-100 is lighter than the F-5 and in the performance range of the F-5.
Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!
Nothing beats a great piece of glass!
I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
My favorite Nikon wide angle is the 18mm followed by the 24mm. Heck, 28mm is just a wide normal lens .
On the long end, I think the 105mm 2.5 is the best walk around lens made. MY experience, 28 is always to narrow, and 90mm is always to short. I have a 200mm, rarely used and a 300mm used a lot on the long end.
Anyway, choices and opinions are wide on this issue and you can't hardly go wrong with any manual focus Nikkor glass.
Bodies, F3HP and EL2, retired the F's.
Regarding the F4, it's not just the motor speed difference when using the MB-21 vs. the MB-20. It's also ergonomically different. The grip part of the MB-20 is a little larger than the grip part of the MB-21, and the MB-21 also gives a vertical grip with an auxiliary shutter release. I think the added juice from the extra batteries also drives the focus motor harder too (more torque available). I like the MB-20 configuration because it's compact and lighter, but I enjoy the MB-21 (F4s) configuration more because for me it feels better in my hand.
The F4 is a pro level body, so it is better sealed, has a more durable shutter, is extremely solid, and the shutter and mirror are very well damped (vibration free). It inspires confidence, and is the last of the pro film bodies with an analog interface (knobs and dials vs. control wheels). The downside for many people is that all this quality stuff causes the body to be large and heavy. If you're used to handling a Nikon FE, F90x, and D70, you may not like the experience of lugging such a large body. OTOH, you may easily fall in love with its design, performance, and handling. Its AF is usable for most purposes. You'll just have to try it to see if it's as slow as people like to say. It works okay for my needs when I use my AF lenses on it, but that's just me.
You can easily change the focusing screen in the field as long as you're careful about avoiding dusty conditions. I prefer an "E" screen in mine.
My F4 does well pairing with either my D100, or my F2 or F3HP (AF and MF).
Last edited by Warren T.; 06-29-2009 at 07:37 PM. Click to view previous post history.
1) Its often called Nikon's best manual camera, the AF isnt great, but the metering is.
Originally Posted by Wishy
2) ABSOLUTELY NOT
3) It uses AAs, so you dont need to use NIMH. The best solution is to use single-use lithium batteries since they are very light and work well.