Nikon F4. Review from the reader Radozhiva

Nikon F4 camera review specially for Radozhiva prepared Suna Arbaro.

Nikon F4

Nikon F4

I don’t even know where to start this review. When you hold this heavy handsome man in your arms, it’s hard to hold back and do without emotions.

A short digression into the history: October 1988, the photokina exhibition in Cologne, the Kabusiki Guy Nikon company unveiled its new flagship professional reporting small format SLR camera - Nikon F4 (straight grandfather of digital D4).

In the literal sense of the word, this is a cult, transitional model, a connecting link between evolution of old, film, manual and modern electronic cameras. Unique camera and if Canon switching to autofocus and electronic control changed his mount, creating a new system, then Nikon went the other way. This was the path of total, complete compatibility of system components of different generations, which made this camera specifically the best small-format CLASSIC film SLR in the world! It’s classical, because then there were also F5, and produced to this day F6, but these are new cameras, with modern electronic controls and ergonomics. Other manufacturers also had excellent cameras, but this particular model stands out from the rest, combining old concepts and new breakthrough technologies. The camera, which has defined the concept and the whole style of the mirror system for decades to come Nikon f.

Design

Nikon F4 has a classic design of film manual DSLRs, with control by means of wheels and levers, BUT if F3 was mechanical, with additional electronic functions and a drive, then F4 almost completely electronic, there are very few mechanical controls left.

A little about design in general. The camera is very beautiful, just insanely beautiful! This is a real, monumental work of art, convenience and aesthetic harmony are the hallmarks of perfect design. Walking down the street with such a camera in your hands, it is difficult to remain unnoticed. Even idle passers-by, most likely far from the photo theme, turn around to see it better. The long forgotten, pleasant and melodic sound of mirrors, shutter and rewind surprises people a little, because it is strikingly different from a fake one from soap dish speakers. Just a song to the ears of the photographer.

If you try to find a camera in the line that combines the essence of philosophy, character and style Nikon - this is exactly F4. Despite the fact that before him, the company produced amateur electronic DSLRs with button control, nevertheless F4 decided to release it with classic ergonomics. It was assumed that thanks to this, the transition of professional photographers of the old school to new technologies and ergonomics would be softer. Just imagine - right after F3 pick up F5! The difference between them is akin to the difference between a piston and a jet aircraft. If you work with digital SLRs, try to make several frames on film, manual without preparation. The differences are simply amazing.

Appearance Nikon F4 in detail

Ergonomics

The design and ergonomics of this camera are 5+. And this is not surprising, because the Italian car stylist put his hands to the creation of the body of this camera  Giorgetto Giugiaro (Italian Giorgetto Giugiaro). Those who are fond of cars are aware of the scale of the personality of this distinguished designer. He created the look of cars Audi, BMW, Bugatti, Ferrari, Fiat, Lamborghini, Mazda, Renault, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen and many, many others.

With the ergonomics of this camera, everything is very interesting, and I, who entered the world of photography already in the era of digital SLR cameras, was at first unusual. Let me explain: there are 2 control concepts and, accordingly, 2 grip (hold) of the camera - this is modern (for the right hand) and the old (for the left). In the first case, everything is clear, the camera is held in the right hand with an ergonomic grip and all control of the main parameters is on the right. But those who shot with film SLRs will remember that they held the weight of the camera not in their right, but in their left hand, supporting the camera from below with their left hand and controlling the rings on the lens, including the diaphragm, with it. Have F4 intermediateness, transition is traced even here. Its grip is very different from the grip of modern DSLRs, but at the same time, the camera sits in its right hand like a glove, is firmly held with one hand and there is no fear that it will slip out. With this grip, one hand is available: the shutter button, the mechanical diaphragm repeater button and the mirror mechanical lifting lever coupled with it (they work without power supply) a little lower, under the fingers of the right hand, on the side of the bayonet, there is already an electronic button paired with a lever AF- L / AE-L by default it locks autofocus, the lever activates the simultaneous blocking of autofocus and metering exposure. Electronic button below Ae-l only exposure is locked. Such a solution on a film camera seemed to me very convenient. Especially when working in semi-automatic modes. Nothing more is available when holding with one right hand. For change excerpts, exposure compensation and shooting modes (L - (OFF / ON), - single 2 burst speeds, CH - maximum speed, CL - intermediate speed, CS - "quiet mode", and the mode timer for 10 seconds), which are on the lever around the shutter button, you have to grab your hand. With difficulty, with the index finger of your right hand, you can reach the lever for changing exposure metering modes, which is located on the body of the removable pentaprism. In order to fully and freely control the camera, it must be supported with the left hand from below.

The main performance characteristics of the Nikon F4:

Type of camera Classic small format single-lens reflex film system camera
Model (modification) Nikon F4 (professional)
Years of issue 1988-1997
Detachable lens mount Bayonet mount Nikon f metal
Film format Type-135. film, frame size (24 × 36 mm.)
Battery pack (grip handle) None, equipped with battery grip type MB-20 for 4 batteries AA
Built-in flash No
Removable flash mount Hot shoe standard ISO 518 with sync contacts using the synchronization protocol TTL и d-TTL; DOES NOT support modern iTTL (located on removable viewfinder housings DP-20 и DA 20)
Interface Connector for a mechanical cable for releasing the shutter on a tapered thread and a sync connector for the flash cable
Food Fully volatile with 4 batteries per 1,5V each type AA
Shutter type Electronically-controlled, vertical louvre shutter
Shutter Resource Resource 150 thousands guaranteed positives
Shutter speed range From 1/8000 to 4 seconds, manual, long
Flash sync On the 1/250 seconds
Modes exposure - Manual; - aperture priority; - a priority excerpts; - software, PH - software with a priority in favor of a shorter excerpts
Shutter and film drive modes - Single; CH - maximum speed 4 frame / s.; CL - intermediate speed 3,3 frames / s.; CS - quiet mode 1 fps. with slow film advance. (Basic model with MB-20)
Film rewind Automatic, rewind - automatic by electric motor / manual tape measure
ISO Adjustment Range Automatic DX; Manual off 6 to 6400
Phase AF Modes M - manual (disabled);S - single and C - continuous tracking. Phase Focus Sensor AM-200
Number of AF Points: 1 focus points in the center of the frame
Focusing screen Removable Type K Frosted Fresnel field with Doden wedges in the center of a circle of microprisms (standard, universal)
Viewfinder Removable optical DP-20 with diopter correction from -3 to + 1.
Measurement modes exposure

 

Spot; center-weighted (only with DP-20 и DA-20); evaluative/ Matrix with five zones (only with DP-20)
Exposure compensation ± 2 EV in increments 1/3 foot (exposure stage)
Auto Bracket exposure Available with control caps MF-23 и MF-24 to 19 frames
Housing material Rubber-coated metal
Environmental protection Dust and water tight
Mount Tripod socket
dimensions 168.5 × 117.5 × 76.5 mm (F4 standard modification with DP-20 и MB-20)
Weight 1090 BC (F4 standard modification with DP-20 и MB-20)

 

Modification

This is the so-called basic modification, in the form in which F4 It was announced, namely: there is no battery stick, or rather it is called here MB-20 with a detachable "store" for 4 batteries of the type AAwhich is quite convenient, BUT it will not work to charge ordinary finger-type batteries, which everyone is used to shoving in their flashes, since the camera can only be powered by 4 batteries per 1,5Vordinary batteries - 1,2V she is not enough. You can certainly find batteries and on 1,5V but they will have to buy a special charge, but is it necessary? It is unlikely that someone will film in such volumes, because the cost of the film is very high. With this basic battery pack, the camera can accelerate to 4 frames per second, which is quite enough for the film (and someone wanted to shoot a report on it now ... Well, if there are such desperate ones, then it’s suitable for them F4s with battery pack MB-21that is already accelerating to 5,7 fps It is faster than some modern digital cameras: Nikon D90 (4,5k / s), Nikon D5100 (4k / s) Nikon D3400 (5k / s) Nikon Df (5,5k / s), Nikon D600 (5,5k / s), Nikon D800 (4 fps) Not the latest models, especially D90, but all of them are still in use, are very common and are still actively used, and Nikon Df so generally released so far.

On my F4 standard viewfinder DP-20 field of view - 100%; has diopter adjustment from -3 To + 1. and standard focusing screen Type K с wedges of doden, I ran into them for the first time and they seemed to me very convenient, especially when working with manual optics. However, there is a nuance: the phase focusing point is small, and the circle with wedges is large, you have to remember to aim exactly at the center, it does not catch on the whole circle. The only difference from the base model is the dating cover MF-22I don’t use, I don’t understand why to mutilate photos with dates.

Chassis

Now more about the camera body. It is all-metal, if there is plastic, then only on individual small elements. I did not disassemble the camera, but if you believe the rumors from the Internet, the outer casing of the camera is made using a special technology by precision injection molding (I think this is good, the camera looks very solid) + milling elements (I would really like to see the layout). The perimeter (front, side, and back sides) is covered with rubber, and this is not the kind of rubber that swells and falls off, my old lady does not even have a hint of this, the rubber is smooth in texture, but at the same time gives good grip on the skin when gripping, pleasant to the touch. The bottom is also made of rubber. The lower and upper projections are bare, painted metal, which alloy I can’t say. Of course, there are no backlashes anywhere. If you shake it, you can only hear the sound of the clacking of the film rewind knob, which goes 0,5 mm up and down and has a small "backlash" along the axis of rotation, which cannot be called a backlash. All important controls have lock buttons. All this is great, but I did not like how the locking of the exposure compensation wheel was implemented: you need to press a rather tight lever while rotating it, this is inconvenient for me, it reduces the efficiency when working in semi-automatic modes (in particular, in priority mode excerpts working with optics Nikkor series G). Although, I think, one can get used to this. But it would be better if manufacturers made the lock with a regular button in the center of the wheel, as it is implemented on the wheel excerpts. The camera is 100% volatile and there is no lever for manually cocking the shutter and rewinding the film, which still remained with the mechanical F3, instead of it, a small lever for blocking the film rewind, that is, multiple exposure (And do not go into the depths of the menu settings, as on modern x).

Viewfinder

All the charm F4as previousF3, it is the maximum modularity that provides big freedom. This is not only removable back covers and battery grips, but also a removable unit DP-20 with a pentaprism, a viewfinder, but he deserves a separate description. It can be replaced by DA 20 - sports viewfinder: focus point set at 80mm; DW-21 - a vertical magnifier with 6x magnification and DW-20 - a mine with a 5-fold magnifier. Staff unit block DP-20 has a diopter adjustment, in order to adjust, it is necessary to pull out the stock with a wheel (like a wristwatch) a little, adjust it and push it back. The viewfinder itself is equipped with parasitic flares with a lever closed by red curtains (for my copy, the lower curtain jammed a little at the end, I had to squeeze harder). Nearby is the lever (selector) for choosing the metering modes, there is not only point and center-weighted, but also the first appeared matrix (over the entire frame). Moreover, the spot metering sensor is located in the camera body at the bottom of the bayonet shaft, next to the phase focusing sensor. And in the case DP-20 sensors for center-weighted and matrix metering are located (for more information on metering Nikon cameras in article of this site) The display in the viewfinder is very interesting! Below you can already see the traditional LCD with basic information (metering method, excerpt, the aperture value is displayed there only in semi-automatic modes, and in М the exposure scale is displayed, there is also a metering lock indication) This LCD indication is located in a removable housing DP-20 , in it there are 2 green LEDs to illuminate the screen. In a bright environment, the LCD displays are illuminated by natural light through a dull white frosted window from the top in front, and when lit, it glows green. But the second additional LCD is already on the top left, located in the camera body and viewed through a special window from below, it displays exposure compensation and an electronic frame counter (in my copy this display did not work correctly, old age is not a joy) the green backlight of this screen is in the camera , it also illuminates the lens body in the place of the applied aperture values. From the top right through a similar window, also from the camera body you can see the focus indication and the rangefinder of the focus correction with arrows, a warning about exposure compensation and the presence of a flash. From above in the center the aperture is visible directly from the lens! So it works ADR (English Aperture Direct Readout) installed aperture optical display system and this is why there is a second row of aperture numbers in small print, as I wrote earlier - in the dark it can be illuminated with an LED, of course, this only works with lenses that have a diaphragm ring, with modern lenses of the series G, the camera only works in program modes P,PH and priority mode excerpts S (These modes are highlighted in orange on the case) in this case, the aperture value is displayed in the viewfinder on the screen below.

Work without a viewfinder

This system allows you to sight and focus with the viewfinder removed, directly looking at the frosted glass of the focusing screen, while the indication of the top screen will be visible and, most importantly, the indication of the focus of the range finder, spot metering will also work. For me it's just nonsense. The frosted glass of the focusing screen changes very easily, it just pokes off with a finger and that’s all (and no service is needed).

I almost forgot, of course, on the case DP-20 there is a flash mount shoe with standard Nikon sync contacts for d-TTL.

Camera system compatibility

What I bought this particular camera for is almost complete, total in-system compatibility with the maximum amount of equipment, a bayonet mount with all mechanical data transmission systems, as well as electronic compatibility with modern lenses!

The combination of a variety of mechanical and electronic compatibility systems makes this camera unique.

Bayonet mount

The mount of this camera has complex mechanics with duplicate systems for lenses of different generations with different methods of transmitting information. It deserves a separate detailed description.

From the core, this is directly standard itself bayonet mount Nikon F.

If you look at the front, on the left inside the mount, there is a standard diaphragm lever (pusher) for the entire system, which is triggered at the time of shooting, or when you press the diaphragm repeater button. The diaphragm repeater is triggered mechanically to the value set on the lens (on the lenses Non-g)with the new lenses of the series G (without aperture ring) with the repeater button, the aperture closes completely, since the electronic repeater is in the new cameras.

This camera is “sharpened” for working with lenses having an aperture adjustment ring (AI, AI-S, Non-g), because it is equipped around the mount aperture reading ring, which rotates, clinging with its lever to a special protrusion on the lens. Nikon F4 works absolutely correctly with the lenses of the series G (without aperture ring), but most likely it will not work with the new lenses of the series E (Electromagnetic diaphragm). I do not have exact information, maybe they will work but only on a fully open diaphragm.

The bayonet is equipped with a mechanical autofocus screwdriver for lenses AF (without internal focus motor). It should be very careful so as not to break the drive, the screwdriver is quite easily rotated for the lens focusing ring AF! Do not forget to put the camera in mode M manual focus (when you turn off the camera, removing it somewhere, I turn off autofocus).

A group of 7 sync contacts for lens microprocessors, they are necessary for transmitting data on the type of lens, its focal length, focusing distance, the presence of autofocus and its activity, and so on (https://radojuva.com/2016/02/cpu-contact-nikon-number/) For example, an old lens Nikkor AF 70-210mm 1: 4 (there is an article on this site in detail about this lens https://radojuva.com/2011/12/nikon-70-210-mm-f-4-af-review/) which is Non-dthat is, it cannot transmit the distance it is focused on, but it transmits the set focal length, and old flashes can still change the angle of illumination, although they do not adjust the pulse strength relative to the focus distance, distance data is also necessary to calculate the shutter speed in semi-automatic modes (there is an article on this topic on this site https://radojuva.com/2012/03/nikon-lenses/).

And now about the most interesting, about the difference between this mount from other cameras, both old and new.

Aperture Reading Ring has a special protrusion, which on most cameras with this ring does not allow you to install lenses in the series PRE AI, as the protrusion abuts against the diaphragm ring. But not with Nikon F4. On the mount, on the side there is a small button, pressing which allows you to bend the lever to the side, which allows you to use lenses PRE AI. (This issue is described in detail in an article on this site. https://radojuva.com/2012/06/nikon-ai-s-old-lens-about/) On modern Nikon DSLRs, only Nikon Df.

This camera does not have lever EE, to read the extreme position of the diaphragm ring, since its function is aperture reading ring. For shooting in program modes (PH, P) and shutter priority mode (S), the aperture on the lens must be blocked at the maximum value (it is marked in orange).

These mechanisms are not described in the camera manual:

The first thing that caught my eye after buying a camera was an incomprehensible lever on the lower inner part of the mount - I had no idea what it was for. In the instruction, which, by the way, is in English, there is no translation into Russian, nothing is said, nothing is signed. I had to look through the photos of the mounts of many cameras and revise several instructions for the cameras before I came across this information in the passport to the manual Nikon FA. It turned out that this lever for indicating maximum aperture (diaphragm). It is shifted by a special protrusion on the shank of the lens, the purpose of which I also did not understand. Interestingly, I observed this protrusion on almost all lenses, both full-frame and cropped DXbut at the same time there is no such lever on new cameras, but why is it on cropped modern lenses that no one will put on old cameras, is also unclear.

The next interesting detail, which is rarely seen on what kind of film camera, not to mention digital SLRs, is zoom lever, which is located in the mount on the right, and again, you can hardly find it anywhere.

On the bayonet flange, next to the lens fixing pin, there is another smaller pin, also with an initially unclear purpose. It turned out to be a type recognition lens pin AI-S (on the corresponding lenses there is a special recess under it).

The camera equally correctly works as with automation AF and AF Scorrectly understands modern lenses without aperture ring Gbut in the lenses VR the stabilizer will not work. Lens Series AF-P most likely they won’t work, they don’t even work on all DSLRs, on others they work only with new firmware. Can this camera work with lenses? AF-I I did not find any reliable information.

Autofocus also successfully works on it on cropped DX lenses, of course, for obvious reasons, I was not going to shoot them, but for the sake of compatibility check I screwed it up and tried, I found out, despite the fact that all these lenses have the same understandable to F4 focusing AF-S, but 35mm f1.8G AF-S DX Nikkor (https://radojuva.com/2011/03/obzor-nikkor-af-s-35mm-f1-8-dx/) and 18-105mm f3.5-5.6G AF-S ED DX VR nikkor (https://radojuva.com/2010/12/obzor-nikon-18-105-otzuv-nikkor/) successfully focused, but 55-200mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX Nikkor (https://radojuva.com/2011/03/obzor-nikon-55-200-dx-vr-otzuvu/) refused to focus! I drew attention to the absence of the last protrusions on the lens shank, which just clicks on maximum aperture display lever и focal length indexing lever. I do not have a large fleet of lenses on which I could test my hunch, but I assume that this is not an accidental coincidence. It was suspected that with normal full-frame it is not with all lenses AF S can focus, so before buying a lens for it, you should check it, look at the shank of the lens, and it is advisable to test it directly on the camera. There are a lot of mechanics in the mount and there is intelligent electronics, and only Nikon engineers know how, what and what is synchronized with.

More information about the compatibility of cameras and lenses can be found in the article on this site: https://radojuva.com/2012/03/nikon-lenses/.

Flash

As stated above, Nikon F4 has a standard shoe ISO 518 with sync contacts using the synchronization protocol TTL и d-TTL, which means that with modern flashes with a synchronization protocol iTTL the automation will not work, but they are quite working in manual mode. When I put mine SB-700 (a review of it is on the site: https://radojuva.com/2012/09/obzor-nikon-speedlight-sb-700/) on Nikon F4, then an indication appeared on the flash display, requiring it to be switched to manual mode М. The flash detects what is put on the camera and reacts by turning on the backlight to half-press the shutter, respectively, it fires like a regular flash without TTL. An important detail should be noted: new flashes have a quick-detachable method of fixing with a special pin in the flash foot and a counter-hole in the shoe of the camera. So, at Nikon F4 There is no this hole for the mounting pin, because the flash is not fixed and can easily fly off the camera, old or third-party flash models are fixed with a twisting clamping ring and do not require reciprocal mounting in the camera.

A full list of compatible flashes is written in the camera manual from what I could make out from English: SB-15, SB-16B, SB-18, SB-20, SB-22, SB-23...

Who may wish to work now on 135 type film with a flash, a rhetorical question, and even an old compatible flash in a living state is difficult to find. However, for those who need it, there is an opportunity to get out of the situation, especially considering the presence of a connector for the flash wire.

Replaceable back covers

On the Nikon F4 4 variants of back covers are available:

  • Standard cover, as I understand it, it doesn’t have its own name at all, the only thing it has besides an ergonomic protrusion under the thumb is a window where you can see the reel of film with information about it, I can’t tell anything more about it.
  • FM-22 This is a dating cap. This is exactly what is installed on my copy. In addition to the grip and the window for the coil has B / W LCD on which with the help of three buttons you can set date and time, choose which to type from, or turn off printing. It is powered by a battery type CR2025 on 3V (under the cap, the screw of which is designed for loosening a coin), it is connected to the camera by two sync contacts. It is noteworthy that the default date is 1.1.87 (January 1987, 88), and the camera was announced only in XNUMX. The cover has its own serial number.
  • FM-23 it control cover also has an ergonomic grip, but is much thicker and does not have a window to see the presence of a film reel and information on it, it already has 6 sync contacts with the camera, and there are only 7 on the camera. It can print not only date and time in the frame itself but also EXIF in inter-frame space.FM-23 expands the possibilities of the shooting itself, for example, knows how to do auto bracketing exposure to 19 frames.

Impressions of working with Nikon F4

Those who not so long ago bought a digital camera (especially if it is mirrorless), imagines themselves to be a great photographer and wants (or already) to write in the status: “I accept orders” after trying to shoot on any film camera, a rapid drop in self-esteem for the baseboard is waiting. And even an advanced flagship Nikon F4 not an exception, this is a serious apparatus that provides complete freedom of creativity, but also requires a serious attitude to the process of photographing, deep knowledge and experience. To this camera, as to any other, you also have to adapt.

Focusing

I shot quite a few more spools on it, and this is my first experience with film. Before developing, I thought that I had seriously messed up with exposure and focus, and I must admit - half of the frames of the first film were slightly out of focus, this is due to the fact that I was shooting in a room with imperfect lighting, at an open aperture with a high-aperture lens 50mm f1.4G AF-S Nikkor (https://radojuva.com/2012/04/obzor-nikon-af-s-50mm-f-1-4-g/). With such a small depth of field, it is very difficult to hit, but it is worth slightly holding the aperture at f3-f4 and there are almost no misses. The second reason is only one central focusing point, as you know when focusing on the eye and subsequent re-framing, the distance is shifted due to different distances with different framing, and this is especially pronounced at short focal lengths. There was no such problem with a telephoto camera. There was pain, sadness and suffering when I shot almost two coils of normally focused frames, and the last 6 frames, finished off for the portrait of the girl, were out of focus and all because I decided to play with bokeh on a high-aperture fifty dollars (it would be better to screw a telephoto lens). Not only was I wrong with the focus - F4 also missed. The camera did not always confidently focus in difficult conditions, with a lack of light, in general, sometimes it didn’t even fidget or try to find something, it just froze in place. In terms of speed, in general, it focuses the same way. D90 and others, did not notice a difference. But in mode S while fixing the focus with a half-press of a button, it still sometimes gets confused and refocuses, noticed this when re-cropping (maybe this is the third reason for misses).

Metering

The previous owner suggested that the center-weighted metering works most correctly, which I used most often, sometimes measured with a spot meter, misses by exposure stronger than 0,7 stop (per eye) is not allowed and then rarely, 90% of the frames exposed correctly. I often use the lock button on it exposureso that when transcoding does not change. This is true when using semi-automatic modes (shutter priority with lens 50mm f1.4G AF-S Nikkor) Exposure compensation was also used only in semi-automatic mode. You won’t make test frames here, you have to guess from experience how much to shift, although you can cheat, take samples on a digital SLR. Although then the meaning of filming is lost.

Good news for lovers of manual non-chip optics: metering works great with 58mm Helios-44 f2, and therefore with any others, The exposure meter works in the mode M and aperture priority mode A.

Ease of use and ergonomics

After the digital SLR, I had to relearn, a slightly different management philosophy. And it was trying to spin the wheels of the expopair, which are not in that place. After getting used to the management became even convenient. The camera is very heavy and large, it’s rather difficult to run around all day, hands and neck get tired, but it’s like a glove in your hands, you can take pictures even for 1/15 second! Well, if there is no tremor. The camera is clearly not for street photography, large, noticeable, noisy, but you can also shoot the urban environment and people on it if you act quickly, and that she knows how.

I have not yet had a chance to test weather resistance, and I don't really want to arrange a special crash test for my new favorite. However, if you have the urge to shoot in frost, sleet or pouring rain, then I will not stand on ceremony with it - after all, this is not a museum exhibit, but quite a working apparatus. The most she experienced was dusty conditions and light drizzling rain (do you mean dust and rain?), After which it became only a little cleaner.

An extraordinary eye cup helps DK-19. Sometimes I accidentally turned the focus mode switch lever. Working with only one focus point is another test, but this is a good school. Good help wedges of doden.

Reason for purchase and reasonableness of choice

The main reason for the purchase is good compatibility with both old and new lenses. Very wide functionality, high reliability and a long resource with a decent margin of safety, weatherproof housing, a common standard AA batteries, modularity of design, advanced automation and the possibility of fully manual shooting settings, and this applies not only to the choice of exposure pair, but also the possibility of pre-raising the mirror, slow shutter speed, the possibility multiple exposures.

I decided to take up film photography for personal growth in the skill of shooting, in modern realities, working with film can be considered a useful stage in learning, it is like a place for academic drawing in modern art, you can draw anything, but first master the base.

The design of the camera played an important role. On the one hand, I wanted to find the most versatile camera with maximum functionality, on the other, I wanted to hold in my hand a classic SLR of the film era, and at the same time not very expensive. You can't find a better camera than this one with such contradictory requests, and I didn't swing so weakly, no less - at the flagship reporter's DSLR.

Sample Photos

The material was prepared by Suna Arbaro reader Radozhiva.

You will find more reviews from readers of Radozhiva here.

Add a comment:

 

 

Comments: 51, on the topic: Nikon F4. Review from the reader Radozhiva

  • Oleg

    Grade review

  • Vladimir

    “Nikon F4 works absolutely correctly with G-series lenses (without aperture ring), but most likely it will not work with new E-series lenses (Electromagnetic diaphragm - Electromagnetic diaphragm). open aperture "

    Arkady, I own a Nikon F4s camera and this autumn I tested it with just such a lens - AF-S Nikkor 70-200 f / 2.8 E FL ED. That's right, the aperture always remains open, is reflected in the viewfinder as “2.8” and allows you to work in modes A and M. Matrix metering is available, focusing is fast and accurate. Only the stabilizer does not work. The lens is so sharp open (and around the edges) that I didn't feel any discomfort from being able to close the aperture. The picture that I am attaching was taken with this link on the Kodak E100 slide

  • Eugene

    I had just such a camera, I ordered it from the Japanese on ebee, I came in a new state, without a single scuff or speck of dust. The Japanese are generally very scrupulous comrades. It served me for 5 years, then it was sold, due to the unrealistic high cost of professional film, and the lack of conditions for obtaining high-quality photographs in their final form. I shot about 1000 films on it, shot in the snow, in the rain and in the frost -35C. The camera endured everything. One minus - he does not like finger batteries, give him batteries, there the voltage is higher. I liked the camera very much because of the design, but, nevertheless, it seems to me that the F5 model will be more pleasant to use

    • A.N. Onim

      F5 in ergonomics and control is no different from digital cameras, well, or rather, everything has changed from the last film tops to digital. The only thing in the F5 is eight (!) Finger batteries, which adds weight and dimensions.

  • Alexey

    “2045 ... and suddenly a cry from the museum .. Hey, you mirrorless people who imagine themselves to be a great photographer and want (or already) write in the status:“ I accept orders ””.
    I would write a review and well done .. why these inappropriate jokes?
    Let’s say I’m planning / saving up for Nikon Z6 and selling all the mirror equipment!
    ps ... at the beginning of my career as a photographer I shot on Zenith ET + Helios 77m4 !!! .. yes it was difficult \ expensive but very interesting.

    • Mr. Boggy

      And I'm on FED 5c and Skina poche 20 soap dish ... Until September 2007.

  • BB

    There are typos:
    - surname and name of the designer, separated by commas
    - 'Shutter speed range From 1/8800'
    - DATING cover (from the word 'date')
    - 'when illuminated, it glows' - an extra comma (there are a lot of problems with commas in general - somewhere they are superfluous, somewhere they are not enough)
    - 'center-weighted' - w / w

    The SB-800 operates in D-TTL, and should perform well with this camera. Well, there is also an 'A' mode on almost all TTL flash units.

    Another question: does the shutter speed control wheel make a full revolution, or does it take a long time to turn the wheel to switch from the minimum shutter speed to the maximum shutter speed?

    • Viktorych

      Then came the riveters)))

  • B. R. P.

    Thanks for the review.

  • Pokemon

    Impressive information and volume review. A lot of details and nuances.
    I myself have been trying for a long time to decide on the purchase of the F80, but something constantly stops.

  • pchel

    Mmm… Well, it's a good review! He savored it straight. As if he was twisting in his hands.

  • Michael

    Arkady, typos:
    "They can still focus the angle of illumination"
    "Weatherproof"

    • notapic

      Well, it was not Arkady who made typos, but the author of the review. This is already to him.

      • Michael

        Arkady can correct them, so to him)

  • Konstantin

    The device was cool for its time, but it belongs in a museum. It is better to keep a bright memory of him than to use and show his inconsistency in the modern world. Personally, “faded” and distorted film colors + grain and artifacts are disgusting for me.

    • A.N. Onim

      Wang, what was filmed for some cheap stuff like "kodak gold" or "fuji color" and scanned "by default" in the lab.

      • SashOK

        Maybe you would have slightly adjusted the monitors (or eyes) at first, before showing your distance from photography.
        Here's an example of a great shot (in general, there are many good ones in the review), and what's wrong with it? Or maybe you are expecting some extra miracles from the film? If it's a cheap Kodak Gold film, then it's a great film.
        Or is it like that, if only to fake, like a film - bullshit, I shoot on iGovnoFon ...

        • Ivan

          Dear Sasha, to start with a little literacy lesson. "Cheap", "cheap" are written with G. The word "only" is written with a soft sign. If by iGovnoFon you meant a phone with a camera, then you should know that the word “phono” (sound) is of Greek origin. And since you write in Latin, then all words of Greek origin are written through a combination of letters PH, and not F (Phone). Well, "super miracles" are written together. As for the film, Konstantin and A.N. Onim are right that negative film is inferior in image quality to modern digital cameras, but this does not apply to positive film. On Radozhiv, in the comments, they previously posted a link to a wonderful and informative lecture by Alexey Shadrin about tapes, where it was just explained why the negative tape was initially of low quality. I will quote it again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVWzVLDK4yQ&t=116s

        • A.N. Onim

          The monitor is calibrated, the eyes have been working with the film for almost 10 years, development, printing, and other delights ... There are clearly “parrot” colors of cheap film. "Ectar" or "portra" would give a different result, better quality and more pleasing to the eye.

  • Jury

    Thank you for an interesting review of an interesting technique, otherwise the announcements are already tired. About two years ago I wanted to try the film, in the end I chose the F80. At that time I did not dare to use more expensive equipment of the F4 / F5 level. I liked the result - in halftones, DD, but a good result is too expensive (good film, development, scanning on a professional scanner).

  • Oleg

    Very detailed and lovingly written review, it was nice to read. Thanks!

  • Neustrdm

    With film cameras with the old TTL and TTL-D, the SB-600 and SB-800 flash units work. They are not so ancient, it is not difficult to find in good condition.

  • Jury

    This is not directly related to the camera, but it would still be interesting to hear from the reviewer what kind of film he used, whether he easily found a development point, on which technique he scanned, whether the pictures were subjected to additional processing.

    • B. R. P.

      Yes, that would be interesting.

    • Ivan

      In my opinion, shooting on negative film with subsequent manipulations up to scanning does not make sense at all. For this, digital technology already exists. The benefits of film can only be seen on slides and viewed through an overhead projector on a large screen. I am still fond of this. The image quality cannot be compared to any digital photo, even if it is then broadcast through a video projector. There will be no such color gamut and dynamic range. There are no problems with this in Moscow yet. And the film can be found and development is available (according to the latest data, development is performed by one person using one equipment, and all other photo services bring films for development to this place). This is me about the slide (positive). And the choice of negative (both color and black and white) is much wider, and the developing machines are often located directly in the salons of photo services. I think this review is weak, with a bunch of errors. The F4 was good for its time. The best cameras are of the latest generation. I have a very amateur F65, but it supports many modern lenses and is perfectly compatible with flashes. Pokémon correctly noted the good F80 camera. F100 is even better. And the best is F6.

  • Viktorych

    And what about ISO on film?

    • Michael

      For exposure meter operation. The camera does not know what they put in it. Although some were able and it

      • Ivan

        In the latest cameras, ISO and other film data is automatically detected. The cassette receiver contains a group of contacts, and on the coil itself there is an encoding.

        • Michael

          this is in newer ones, I wrote so.

  • Dim

    The review is generally pleasant, removing some aggressiveness and it would be great. I myself wanted to take pictures with a professional camera. I have already picked up the camera on the ebay, well at the last minute I decided to call the photo labs - in my city no one shows film ...

    • Michael

      You can do it yourself - it's not difficult. You just need to scan where

    • Ivan

      I assure you, for film cameras there is no such difference in the quality of photographs as in digital ones. Therefore, the simplest camera will shoot in the same way as a professional one, the main thing is the lens. There are only nuances in rate of fire, focus and exposure. Under difficult shooting conditions, a professional camera will do better than an amateur camera. In all ordinary situations, you will not notice any differences.

    • Andrii

      "A certain aggressiveness"
      Why did Vi get a kick? Dyakuyu

  • Victor

    Thanks so much for reviewing the legend!

  • rolexx711

    A wonderful camera, it's a pity that their liquid crystal screen begins to leak over time - black blots appear on it, and this interferes with reading information from it. The years take their toll.

  • Michael

    No digital camera today can take a picture with such DD and volume as film. I think that it will not be able in the future. And the point here is not in megapixels and matrices, but in the very process of producing an analog photo. It's like in sound - there is a film, with its noises and artifacts, and there is a “digital”, with humps and steps. No matter how you lick the figure, it will remain with it. We shout to everyone about g .. film and stuff, I want to say - go to school and teach materiel. To start. And the camera is excellent, albeit not without flaws. And a quality review.

    • Roman

      How is it? If I remember correctly, then only certain types of positive film can produce a comparable or better DD, having all the other film flaws. But then this wonderful DD will need to be scanned and pushed into the DD of the reproducing device or, worse, paper. Or walk around with your viewing table and slides to view. Is this an occasion to declare the advantage of the film?

      • hedgehog

        Scanners, like good laboratories, remained.
        Look at the pictures from medium format film cameras, format up to 6x7 or 6x9.
        DD and the volume there is very very well felt.

      • Ivan

        I missed your comment earlier, I will answer now. Scanning slides does not make sense, only for digitization, with a corresponding loss of quality. The viewing table is generally not for viewing slides. Personally, I use it only in the darkroom (usually always there) when I look at the film after developing. In order to carry photographs, there is a smartphone. Movies can also be watched on the smartphone screen. However, people go to theaters for quality. The same goes for viewing slides through a slide projector on a large screen in a home setting.

  • Vladimir

    I have a question for Arkady how the exposure compensation function works on this camera. I’ve already read the principle of work, but I don’t understand much: what exactly does the exposure correction affect, and what doesn’t affect us and in what modes. I also want to know about what results appear in photographs under different lighting conditions in case of improper exposure, in order to know the patterns and not make mistakes.
    I hope that you share your experience

    • Michael

      Affects the exposure ratio (i.e. the shutter speed or aperture value, depending on the mode), just like on all other cameras. In fact, an exposure error will lead to an abnormal density of the negative (light-dark or blown-out). Results can be corrected when printed. Also, sometimes abnormal negative exposure is deliberately used and then it is changed during development - this is called Push-Pull. In general, the question is quite voluminous in a nutshell for the film, all the nuances cannot be described.

      • Vladimir

        how will expocorrection affect iso, or not?

        • Ivan

          The ISO film is defined by the chemical process during its production. In principle, nothing can affect the ISO film (imagine that the ISO setting on the digital camera is set and does not change). This is an invariable value, it is already being counted from an exposure pair, exposure compensation.

  • Eugene

    This is a question for everyone. Nikon F4 started turning off after 10 seconds, on its own. Who knows what could be the reason.

    • Ivan

      The old one has become, he wants to retire ...

      • Eugene

        Not))) somewhere the contact leaves. I don’t understand where.

  • Mr. Boggy

    I respect old film DSLRs, and I love all brands, then all were 35 mm (the most popular), (SF, as it was now for the rich or advanced fashion photographers.) Of the similar shutter sound among digital 5d Kenons, that is the first one that clanks long and slow "Chkfow" and still as if after that you are waiting for a film "vzhzhitt", but it certainly does not sound. Still, the film era was very interesting, full of secret processes, but how they ran home with an envelope of photos, and already fingering them on the go ... Now the number rules, and this atmosphere of the uniqueness of each frame is lacking ...

  • Sergei

    Regarding the demand for F4 (and films) these days. In January 2022, he wandered around the outskirts of Yekaterinburg all daylight hours. The air temperature is -21 degrees Celsius during the day and -27 in the evening. I took with me a Nikon F4S (Ni-Mg batteries plus a spare in my pocket) with Kodak Pro Image 100 film, and also a digital Nikon D850. Digital froze almost immediately. When I got to the shooting location, it simply did not turn on (although the battery was warming in my pocket). I did not take a single frame on him and dragged him like a brick. And the old F4 withstood the whole many hours of walking, and I shot two films on it.

    • Viktre

      Probably, the questions are specifically for this d850, and not for digital technology in general.

      I shot it on the old d80 without any problems at -20, of course, changing the warmed batteries from the inner pockets. Everything worked.

      • Arkady Shapoval

        everyone will find a reason why this or that camera will be “better”

  • Jurij

    Nice detailed review
    I can add a very interesting and functionally important nuance
    For the first time, the possibility of matrix metering with manual optics appeared ...
    At the same time (for general development) F3 is not structurally mechanical, mechanical are F, F2, F2n, FM, FM2, i.e. those for which the shutter works fully at all shutter speeds in the absence of power supply

Add a comment

Copyright © Radojuva.com. Blog author - Photographer in Kiev Arkady Shapoval. 2009-2022

English-version of this article https://radojuva.com/en/2020/01/nikon-f4/

Version en español de este artículo https://radojuva.com/es/2020/01/nikon-f4/