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Camera Reviews

The Nikon F4 Review

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

Keywords: nikon, f4, camera, bodies, film

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In the Nikon purist engineering tradition it took a decade to perfect a flagship, but it was finally here, exactly 30 years after the first, the Nikon F (1959->1988).

Click for larger image.

Nikon F4s with Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.4, showing the 6 AA batteries MB-21 speed winder that makes the F4 the F4s, with a vertical grip shutter trigger. .


Never mind the specs for the time being. As soon as I took the camera in my hands there was this immediate feeling of power, the promise of total delivery. And a so round body. The precise size and contour of the rubberized grip; it seemed made for my hand. The correct placement of the shutter and all of the controls. And so easy to understand and use.

I am one of those persons who opens the box, throws the manual into a corner  -unless it has great pictures-  and goes back for it only if in deep serious trouble. Never got into a jam so I don't even remember where the manual could be. It is a natural, logical system, a redefinition of the term "user-friendly". Much, much better than anything before.


Also, never before 1988 a camera had been so loaded with electronics. The F4 has 1,750 parts, 4 coreless motors and batteries. Talk about Nikon engineering. Somehow, just to think that it all fits into this body makes you realize it is not so big after all.

Of course this amazement is easier for me to feel and comprehend since I had the opportunity to meet face to face with ENIAC, the first computer, at the University of Pennsylvania, where it's 19,000 vacuum tubes, 1,500 relays, and hundreds of thousands of resistors, capacitors, inductors and mechanical switches occupied all of the basement of the Moore School of Engineering.

his computer was replicated on a single chip less than 3" X 2" in size, on its 50th anniversary in 1996. But the miniaturization and fitting on the F4 took place 8 years before!


Wiring a program on the Eniac


Without knowing then, this excitement was shared by many enthusiasts and pros.

(7 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 co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

San Pedro Garza García, Mexico
Admin, 46135 posts


Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on October 1, 2021

One of the two c-founders, expert 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 co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various 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. http://www.butkus.org/chinon/nikon/nikon_mf-23/nikon_mf-23.htm

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