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Camera Reviews

The Nikon F4 Review

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

Keywords: nikon, f4, camera, bodies, film

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My Nikon journey started early. First I had a Nikomat FS (1965). Then a Nikkormat FT2 (1975) with integrated meter. Upgrading brought me into the FE2 (1983) and the fun of the MD-12 speed winders. Later, the Nikon N4004s (1989), the N6006 (1990) and then the great N8008s (introduced in 1991). So with my own cameras and my father's 1959 Nikon F I lived the Nikon tradition hands-on. However, even that did not prepare me for the F4.


Click for a large F4 image

The magnificent Nikon F4


I have repeatedly seen and read that the rugged Nikon cameras have long been a preferred tool of pros, for well over forty five years now. The recording of events all over the world and beyond has been done with Nikon bodies and through Nikkor lenses. 

Nikon, omnipresent where something important happens. Hasselblad was with the astronauts into outer space, but so was Nikon; just as it was in the last frontiers of earth, helping to make the everlasting images that probably serve as benchmarks in our lives.


So Nikon has helped to make the images1 that have stirred our hearts, our guts and our brains, profoundly contributing to the way we see and feel our world and beyond; long before there were special effects and Adobe Photoshop. 


Such tradition and my early on experiences made easy to expect that Nikon's own accumulated experience, plus that of the great photographers that they always seem to listen to, would always produce a new darn good camera. 

Nevertheless, the appearing of the Nikon F4, and soon later, of the F4s and the F4e really caught many of us by surprise. A professional camera with auto focus and manual capabilities like no other before, lending itself to adapt to any photographic situation. 

Another true pro camera in the F tradition, the fourth, with full line lenses compatibility. No wonder it received the European Camera of the Year and the Camera Grand Prix awards in 1989.

In the words of wildlife research photographer B. Moose Peterson: "Of all the Nikon Pro bodies, the F4 is by far the most magical"2, and I was fortunate to finally have one !!!

What follows may explain why, after all these years, it remains a great camera to have and use.


Pin of F4, Winner of the Euriopean Camera of the Year ´89-\'90

Guide to the Nikon F4 & F3

1 From 1942 to 2001, out of 97 Pulitzer Prizes, counting both Spot News and Feature photography, 57 were won with a Nikon; 10 were for the next closest winning 35mm brand, Leica, most of them with Nikkor lenses; 5 wins with a Canon.   Before 1962, the medium format Speed Graphic cameras dominated the photojournalism scene.

2 Magic Lantern Guide to Nikon F4 and F3, Pro Edition, by B. "Moose "Peterson, Silver Pixel Press, a Tiffen Company, Rochester, N. Y., Third Printing, 1998, page 45. Printed in Germany by Kösel GmbH, Kempten

(8 Votes )
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Originally written on June 24, 2010

Last updated on December 31, 2020

J. Ramon Palacios J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

JRP is one of the two co-founders of Nikonians and has in-depth knowledge in many photographic areas Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

San Pedro Garza García, Mexico
Moderator, 46140 posts


Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on October 1, 2021

bgs is one of the two co-founders of Nikonians, with in-depth knowledge in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

It is truly a very inspiring article for all of us who still shot film now and then, or dream about doing it.

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) on September 24, 2021

JRP is one of the two co-founders of Nikonians and has in-depth knowledge in many photographic areas Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

Obrigado, Jose

Jose Santos (espeto68) on September 23, 2021

Best review ever.

Keith Braine (kebra) on March 28, 2014

Here is link that I have found.

Juergen Cosfeld (Cosinus) on September 18, 2013

Hello dear Nikonians-User I'm using a F4 with Multi-Control-Back MF-23 and Battery Pack MB-21 since 1990. All components are still working. But I lost the User-Manual for the MF-23. Is there anybody who can help me in this case,to get a copy of it. Best regards Cosinus

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