Nikon F cameras

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Maxx640, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. Maxx640

    Maxx640 TPF Noob!

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    Hello,
    I would like a little piece of advice here. I have the possibility of getting a scratched well used F4 with MB21 or a newish (no marks) F3 with MD4.

    Can somebody tell me the differences between these cameras (I am more of a rangefinder & 6X6 type, but need an SLR for different needs (sport, solidity...))?

    Both being at 200€, which one would you advise me going for?

    Max,
     
  2. dinodan

    dinodan TPF Noob!

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    The F3 is a classic, and I believe that it actually stayed in production beyond the F4, which was designed to replace it. They are completely different cameras. The biggest functional difference being that the F4 has autofocus. If I had the choice that you describe, I think that I would opt for the F3. Here are a couple of links that you might find helpful.

    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikonf3ver2/index.htm

    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikonf4/index.htm
     
  3. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The F4 was not only auto focus but it is the largest and heaviest F camera made. I always viewed it as a clunker and never used mine much. The F4 also has a built in motor drive while the F3 does not. I used the sleeker, lighter F3 a lot and almost never used the accesory motor drive for mine. If you go with the F3 be sure you buy autofocus lenses nevertheless. That will be valuable when you finally move to digital.
     
  4. jwkwd

    jwkwd TPF Noob!

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    I have both and each one has things that I like. The metering is nice on the F4. The auto focus OK, although most times I don't use it. As Fred said, it is big and heavy, but has a good feel ( to me ) and fits well in my hand. An F3 is a F3. I keep a motor on it, so there is some weight as well. With both cameras in the same bag and I see a photo I have to have, I grab the F3.
     
  5. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    :er:
     
  6. Maxx640

    Maxx640 TPF Noob!

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    Well, thanks for all that information. That mir site is very complete!

    You all seem to have a preference for the F3. I think I'll compare them in my hands and see which one fits better! The only "fault" with the F3 is when I'll be shooting BC skiing, I'll have to become a pro of focusing in a VERY short amount of time ;). I also heard the light metering wasn't so good.

    Max,

    PS: Oh yes, and:

    I have big doubts on that happening! Or at least not before many many many many years!!! :lol:
     
  7. pauledell

    pauledell TPF Noob!

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    While I can't speak for the F4, I have had F3s for years and have found them easy to use,very well built, and without the motor drive, as light
    a camera as any. They have an unsurpassed record for reliability and I still see them used a lot.
    Paul
     
  8. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I own both. The F4 has a couple of advantages over other AF Nikons, it can handle any lens, manual or autofocus in full matrix metering. Other Nikon film bodies loose matrix when used with MF glass. It's AF is fast for it's day and the AF is accurate. The metering system is more advanced than the F3. It's drawbacks, it's big and heavy, it eats batteries faster than a D1 set on bulb, it's heavy, and oh ya, did I mention that it's heavy. The F3 is my favorite 35mm film camera. Mine is from 1981, early in it's production run. When I got my first D1X in 2002 Nikon still had the F3 in it's catalog. I bought my F3 with the MD4, a great drive. The F3 without it's motor drive is small and light, capable of accepting any accessory from it's era, and is rock solid. Like all F series bodies, save the F6, it has a removable finder and easily replaceable focusing screens. Of all my film bodies, the F3 is my goto body when I shoot film for myself. In over 25 years of use, the only issue was the battery holder for the MD4 split and I needed a replacement. If a "con" ould be found with the F3, is it's meter. It's a center weighted averaging system. I never thought of this as a problem. I prefer it to even my F5. (The advantage to the F5 is I can switch back and forth with the D1's without thinking about controls. They are both about the same size and weight and control placement is almost identical. An advantage when shooting paid gigs.) Just for discussion, another older MF body that I really like is the FA. A little smaller and lighter than even the F3, it is a great body. (I like the FA used with a 45mm GN pancake lens for candid shooting) It's metering system is more advanced than the F3 as it included matrix metering that went into the F4. FA's are very cheap now, but spare parts are almost non-existent. The "F" series should always have parts available if from no other source than savaged bodies. BTW, the F3 was available in a AF version. It is collectible now, and the lenses for it were dedicated with a built in motor that created a big bulge in the lenses side. Hope I didn't bore you to tears.
     
  9. jwkwd

    jwkwd TPF Noob!

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    I don't think that the metering is bad on an F3. I think that since it is 80/20 compared to 60/40 on other bodies, there is more of a sweet spot to get used to.
     
  10. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I was not saying the F3's meter is bad, I would not prefer it to my F4 or 5 if it were. I was only commenting it was not a matrix meter. The F3 meter is accurate, any experienced photographer knows the limits of their cameras meter and knows how to compensate when in tricky lighting conditions. Over 90% of the time the 3's meter will be dead on. It was state of the in 1980, as good a meter as found on any SLR.
     
  11. jwkwd

    jwkwd TPF Noob!

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    I know what you mean John, I wish the F3 had the matrix metering that the F4 has.
     

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