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Camera Reviews

Nikon F5 - A Review

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs)

Keywords: nikon, f5, camera, bodies, film

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Introduction to the F5

Editor's note: This article was written end of 1999 and a lot has happened with both the author and the F5 since, for once, Nikonians was founded at the end of that year.  We strongly recommend that you don't miss visiting our Nikon F5 forum where there are plenty of tips & tricks and help on anything F5. There are some other articles relating to this great camera here at Nikonians as well that you might want to read. See the end of the article for some good links.

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Most obviously the F5 is one of the killer SLR 35mm bodies on the market: 8 frames per second while autofocusing in-between letting the mirror dance at such a pace that your eye cannot see the dark pauses, 5 CPU's (3x16bit, 1x8bit and 1x4 bit), 4 coreless motors, a memory (ROM) capacity beating any camera before it, a self-diagnostic shutter designed for at least 150.000 operations all coming in an aluminum-alloy housing with a detachable viewer in titanium.

Click for enlargement and details

Aspens in Blue, Colorado. October 2004
Nikon F5, Nikkor AF 80-200/2.8D ED on Fujichrome Velvia 50


OK, so much for the general goodies. Now, is this camera really as good as you're supposed to believe if you're listening to what Nikon and all the pro's using it say?

I'm a serious amateur, that is, I'm not making a living on photography; but I'm more or less well hooked since I was a kid. Probably (and theoretically), I might very well be able to shoot pictures having a similar quality using a 400 dollar body and a prime 50mm; sure, but there are indeed a whole bunch of features on this baby that have made my pic's getting an awful lot better since I started using it.

Ever wondered how the few, the great photographers of "our" time did it without all the nifty technical stuff we have today? Well, buy a used, manual body for 150 dollars, attach a 80 dollar prime 50mm/1.8, nail the window panes shut in that old, second bathroom of yours, throw out the hamburgers in the fridge, stuff it with 2000 rolls of Tri-X and a rich assortment of paper, get into the crowd down town while you're sticking to 1/125 and off you go. It's all in the mind-eye you know (and I'm not talking Canonic-45-Points-Eye-Focusing here). For all of us who don't feel that we could stand this, keep on reading.

In this review, I'll try to point out the pros (and the few cons) using this lovely piece of engineering art coming out in the slim body model named "F5" - as seen through the eyes of an amateur.

There are several, more or less good, F5 reviews on the net, but they're seldom viewing the camera through the eyes of the amateur who uses it. Sure, it is a professional body, but I really believe that there are a whole lot of people out here that might be thinking of getting an F5, not being pro's, but rather ambitious amateurs. This review is for all of you.

(2 Votes )
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Originally written on May 30, 2010

Last updated on December 31, 2020

1 comment

Emory Hall (ehall) on March 23, 2013

Bo Thank you so much for nurturing this newbies dream of having this fine machine, the F5 join my N80 on a strap over my shoulder.

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