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Duvall, US
5599 posts

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Kilted_F3_nut Moderator Skilled and passionate film photogtrapher Nikonian since 29th Jun 2004
Wed 01-Dec-10 05:38 AM

Decisions, decisions...

Been offered an F5. Body's in decent shape, showing usual amounts of wear on the metal surfaces. However, the grip surfaces are sticky and are pulling away in spots, due to the previous owner regluing them in place and not doing a good job.

I wouldn't mind having a body that's very similar to my D1H (er, F100D), but I did notice that the autofocus didn't seem much more responsive than my F4s. Granted, I was using a 28-70 AF-D zoom for my testing purposes. Both bodies did have Energizer lithiums installed. It was a little quicker, but not much quicker. Also seemed to be easily fooled in the same low-contrast situations that the AM200 module in the F4s was fooled.

I'm being offered the F5 for $299. Trade-in is $140 on the F4s, and I'll probably have to purge the 105/2.8 Micro AIS as well to get the camera.

From my previous experiences with both bodies, here are the pros and cons I've noticed:

F4 pros:

Matrix metering works with AI/AIS lenses
non-AI lenses can be used without modifying the body
The ultra-rare P screen is available
Body can be shrunken down with a MB-20 battery pack
Has "T" shutter speed setting for long exposures
Classic 60/40 centerweighted metering pattern

F4 cons:

Single point AF (not that big of a deal to me - D1H is always on the center point)
AF can be slow with MB-20 or when using alkalines
Grip material gets sweaty in the summer
Camera sounds like it's sneezing when the shutter's fired and the motor drive advances the film
LCD bleed is a common problem

F5 pros:

Lighter than F4s or F4e configurations
Higher frame rate in Ch and CL modes
3D Color Matrix metering
More advanced flash metering capabilities
Five-point AF
Grip material doesn't sweat and is more comfortable (but does get sticky sometimes)
Can do VR with lenses so equipped
Fully compatible with G lenses

F5 cons:

Always one size - cannot be shrunk down to F100 size, if desired.
Centerweighted metering pattern closer to F3 semi-spot than the classic pattern used on most MF Nikons and the F4, but identical to most AF non-pro bodies
Too easy to squeeze off two frames on CH when you just want one
LCD fade out is a problem on some bodies, but not anywhere as common as the LCD bleed on the F4's
Less of a focusing screen choice, can't get the P screen with both a microprism collar and the diagonal split, instead have a choice of either microprism (J screen) or diagonal split (L screen) - however, it seems the screens are more common than the more esoteric F4 screens
DOF preview is motorized
Top cover looks like most AF Nikons with an LCD screen and two command dials

It's tough to decide between the two. I'm tempted to stick with what I have for now, then see if I can sell some non-Nikon items and either pick up this F5 or a different one. What would you guys do? I will be leaving here at 11:00 AM PST to run errands. Will check the forum before I leave.


D1H, F4s, F2AS, F FTn + F36, FM2, Nikomat FTn - John Laughlin Photography - nature photographer

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