Never used either, but I'd definitely go with the F100. I saw a guy walking round Istanbul with an F4, at first I though "that lens is tiny" then I realised it was a normal lens, the F4 is just enormous. F100 is quite a nice looking thing though, not too big.
F100 is a superior camera. I've own the Nikon F, F2, F3, F4, and F5. Though the F5 is a great machine, I once owned two to replace my constantly breaking set of F4's, my back protested the weight. Switched to a set of F100 bodies and never looked back.
I chose the F100 over the F4. The F100 is newer and lighter. I like the control layout better.
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Nothing beats a great piece of glass!
I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
Buying an F100, check to see if the original plastic rewinding fork has been replaced with one made out of steel. Otherwise, if you're used to newer digital cameras, you will feel much more at home with an F100. It is a fabulous film camera, probably as good as anything short of an F6, and I would prefer it to an F5, which consumes batteries fast and lacks the red AF brackets. I do admit that I am biased in favor of the top of the line F cameras though.
The F4 is a fantastic camera that is very easy to get used to if you are at all familiar with classic Nikon F-series cameras. It will mount and shoot just about any Nikon lens of the past 50+ years: non-AI, AI(s), autofocus, etc...It is extremely durable and reliable, just stay away from any camera that looks like it's been used and abused by a professional. It WILL work with G-lenses in P and S modes. It will even autofocus with AF-S lenses. I know, because just for laughs I've tried on it the DX 18-55mm kit zoom and 35mm F1.8 G lenses that belong to my D40. How an F4 that was designed years before there were any AF-S lenses can actually focus with them, I don't know, but that's Nikon.
An MB20 grip is really nice to have on an F4 because it slims the whole package down quite a bit. One thing to keep in mind when looking for an F4 is to stay with the high serial numbers: 25* and up. There were improvements made during its lifetime that you would want in your particular camera, and that number range includes all the updates made to the body. Do read the following. Good luck and have fun....
A. The F4 has undergone a number of performance enhancement modifications since its introduction.
The first F4's serial number was 2000201. Moose Peterson, in his NIKON SYSTEM HANDBOOK ((3rd edition) lists several modifications to the F4 made early in the production run, between the eaarliest models and serial number 2180000.
1. changes to the shutter speed dial -- clearer lettering, a higher unlocking button, and greater tension.
This may have taken place between 2115101 and 2146957.
2. a change to the switch on the viewfinder that sets metering modes; the protrusion that allows one to turn this switch has been lowered in profile to avoid unintended shift from one metering mode to another.
This change took place AFTER 2146957.
The original switch has a protrusion to help turn the switch that sticks up above the top of the switch where it can catch things and cause the metering to change unintentionally.
The new switch has a protrusion as well, but it extends "out" rather than up and is much less likely to be moved accidentally. The spring tension on this switch has also been increased. This ALSO took place after 2146957.
Pictures of the original metering switch can be seen in THE NIKON COMPENDIUM, p. 30.
3. the spring on the release lever for opening the back is stronger.
4. the battery warning responds at a lower voltage.
According to Walter Pietsch, Nikon made additional modifications in the F4 since its introduction in 1988. They are
#1) Some strengthening of the metal body, undetectable to the eye.
#2) The original F4s had paint used on the shutter speed numbers that peeled and flaked off. If this hasn't happened to yours, then you've got the later model. This change may be included in Moose's change #1 above.
#3) Finder has double security to be removed - you need to press the release button until finder is 3/4 off. Moose describes this change (NIKON HANDBOOK, 4th edition) as use of a "double detente on the finder release lever."
The release button on the older model basically looks the same, but it works differently. On the older model as soon as you press the release button the finder is fully loose and can fall off.
Lawrence Ang reports that this change had been made by the s/no 2301000 body.
#4) There is a small rubber "tooth" that sticks out at the top of the right-hand grip and rests on the user's middle finger. This gives more support and a secure confident feeling for your right hand.
Lawrence Ang (6/5/97) reports that this "tooth" was missing from the original model MB-20 grip as well, and was added later to that grip. (Nikon must have liked this feature; it was added to the design of the 6006 and other models).
#5) The pin which detects whether the back is open or not was initially made of metal and is now made out of white plastic.
#6) The battery switch inside the MB-21 grip is now labeled "Ni-Cd" rather than "KR-AA." #7) The finder now has an extra hole in the hot shoe for the security pin of the SB25 and SB 26 flash units.
This last change seems to be most recent. It appears in F4 bodies with serial numbers after 2500000, but does not appear in bodies with serial numbers between 2400000 and 2500000.
Once this feature had been added, however, it spread to other Nikon bodies in production in that era. Bodies late in the 6006 production run also had this feature, for example.
In the NIKON HANDBOOK, 4th edition, Moose identifies one more change since serial number 2180000, a shift from a semi-gloss finish to a matte finish for the body and the introduction of a thicker, rubberized back for the camera, both intended to improve "gripability."
FLASH! NEW INFORMATION! UPDATE on Above Information as of 3.6.00
Recent correspondence from Dr. Lim Kok-Hoo, an avid Nikon collector with 6 F4 bodies, suggests the following about changes in the F4 design from review of his current holdings:
1. Changes to the shutter speed dial and changes in the viewfinder release switch (addition of double detente) as described by Moose and others must have taken place very early, before model number 21xxxxx.
If it is true that the numbers on the early shutter speed dials are painted on, then they must be the very early ones, possibly #20xxxxx. The double detente on the viewfinder release switch must also have been added by #21xxxxx, not just by #23xxxxx as reported by Lawrence Ang.
2. Changes to the Metering modes switch must have taken place after #216xxxx, not #2146957 as previously believed.
3. The upper part of the vertical grip of the MB20 and MB21 is straight with no "tooth" up to #2161358 and possibly beyond that. The earliest grip Kok Hoo Lim reports seeing is a body numbered #2276xxx. Probably the change started with #22xxxxx.
4. Battery type indicator.
NiCd batteries are indicated as KRAA in the battery switch inside the vertical part of the grip as well as at the battery tester in all his cameras up to #216xxxx and as NiCd in #2276xxx. So probably this change happened at about #22xxxxx.
5. The changes that Moose mentions in his 4th Ed book about the semi-gloss to matte finish and the thicker rubberised back could not be substantiated when comparing his 3 early cameras with the three later cameras.
Not sure what you are finding for a price of a F4s or F100, but KEH has BGN N90s for $29. I got one of these about a year ago, and it is a FINE camera. Honestly, I have no idea what prompted KEH to classify it as BGN. It appears to be, at worst, a camera store display model. No dings or marks that I can find. Works flawlessly. They are still offering them for the same price today.
Originally Posted by bluedog
I also have a F100, and it has more traditional Nikon controls and is a fine camera, but so is the N90s. I don't think you can beat the KEH price. YMMV I guess.
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We have used Nikon AF cameras since they were introduced. The 8008, the F100, and the F5 all performed flawlessly. The F4, however, was a problem child. We had frequent breakdowns with two of them, and the other failed less often. Could be we were too hard on them, but they went away when we were still using film, but the F5, 8008s, and F100 all stayed until we went digital. I can recommend any of those three. The F4 may be a good camera, but we weren't satisfied with the durability - the 8008s bought at the same time outlasted them.
Couldn't agree more. The N90s/F90x remains a superb camera, among the best prosumer models Nikon made, so good that many opted for it over the somewhat cludgey F4. Unless you use VR lenses, which the F100 supports, the N90s is currently a bargain and the 8008s practically giveaway priced. Both are great with manual lenses, too.
Originally Posted by H. James Wolf
I chose the F4 cause someone gave it to me. I use a few AF lenses with it but use my older lenses more.
It is an impressive camera.
+1 for the F90x (that's what it's called here, the US it's N90s). I used it for shooting at a daily newspaper for years...never a problem and still works (and meters) flawlessly today.
That said, the F100 is newer and smaller, I've heard nothing but good things about it, as well.
It's Nikon -- none of the choices are bad, just different.
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I have used the F and F3 and am still using the F2 and F4 because I need interchangeable viewfinders. I have never used the F5 but it too offers that feature. I have never considered using the F100 or the F6 because they do not have interchangeable viewfinders.