The Nikon F4S

 Nikon F4 image
Nikon F4

The Nikon F4, one of the best if not the best Nikon film camera ever made.  I now own a Nikon Fi3HP and this newly purchased F4S.

I just couldn’t resist buying one when I saw how cheap these were on eBay. I picked up this pristine F4 with an MB21 motor drive for $125.00.  These were front line pro cameras in the late 80’s and early 90’s before digital took hold.  Much of the technology in this camera paved the way to later premium Nikons.

The reason I loved the idea of the Nikon F4 versus the F100 was the user interface. The F4 operates with knobs instead of the loads of buttons on the F100 and today’s digital cameras.  It also accepts just about any Nikon lens ever made before and after this cameara came to be.

While this will never, ever be my main camera, it is fun to use.  I shot a quick roll of film this past weekend, Delta 100 just to make sure everything works.  The photographs themselves are nothing special, I jsut wanted to make sure the camera performed.  I’m glad to say everything seems to work fine.  The only issue I had with it was when loading the six AA batteries.  The plastic battery holder was split or split when I tried to insert the batteries.  I can’t say how it happened but I did manage to glue it back together so hopefully that won’t be an issue later.

I shot Delta 100 at box speed.  The exposures seem okay, they could be a bit brighter. The next rolls will be shot at my normal one stop under box speed and processed at box speed. That gives me the denser negatives with better highlight detail.  For more information on this process, check out Johnny Patience’s blog on exposing film.

I don’t think I’m a camera collector.  I do have a few more cameras than I really need though.  But I definitely favor my film Leicas.  I now have a Nikon D300, a Nikon F3HP and now this Nikon F4.  I use the D300 occasionally when I really need the reach of a long lens.  Now those lenses are good for the film Nikons too.

The Nikon F4 is water resistant also so if the promised El Nino hits Southern California this winter I’ll be ready to document the effect on the local communities with a camera that should withstand the elements with little risk of losing a valuable camera.


As always, thanks for reading.

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