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Thread: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    Money not an object. You want a film cam. You already have a bunch of Nikon AF glass. This is for fun and mainly nostalgia, but okay, some actual ART, but not professional work. Do you totally regress and get an F3HP manual cam, an F4 -- the first good AF pro film Nikon -- or the last "state-of-the-art" film cam, the F6???
    Jack
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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    Short answer... F6 for me, F3 distant second. Not an F4.

    Long answer... Several years ago, I wanted a vintage MF 35 SLR. Nostalgic about smooth manual focus lenses.

    F4 wasn't even in the running. Had one when they were new and was so disgusted with F4 AF... which was noisy, slow and hunted like crazy... that it drove me to Leica M. We forget about the early days of AF.

    F3 dropped out because whole number diopter add-ons left viewfinder less than crystal clear for me. Guess I needed a half step which was never available for Nikon and no one would custom make one for me. And flash solutions quite poor.

    F6 had no shortcomings for me except modern design. Prefer classic.

    Also tried R6.2 and Contax RX, which were better than the F3, but still beat out by the F6.

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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    My answer would be "none of the above", but since the question you posed was F3/F4/F6:

    For me an F4, with the smaller MB-20 grip.

    I find the shape of the F3's not-quite-a-grip literally painful to hold, so that's out. Between the other two, for film I prefer the traditional controls of the F4. I don't care about the AF; the things I mostly take pictures of tend to sit still.

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    Senior Member 4season's Avatar
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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    You probably don't want an F3 and maybe not an F4 either if any of those lenses lack an aperture ring.

    But if that's not an issue, I might opt for an F3 sans MD4 motor drive: Relatively small and kind of iconic, maybe the first of the red-stripe Nikons with raised grip.

    Really liked the F4e when I owned it, but even then I thought of it as a really good manual-focus camera. But today it might feel more dated than classic to me.

    But in general when it comes to retro-anything, I seem to mostly enjoy things that I missed the first time around, and I've already owned an F, 2, 3 & 4. But mounting those F lenses on say an Alpa 7 would be a new experience for me, and Alpa in general seems sufficiently off the beaten path as far as I'm concerned.

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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    PS, FWIW: When I found myself in the position of wanting to shoot film with F-mount lenses I'd originally bought to play with on DSLRs, I ended up with an N90, which I use with my 17-35 AF-S, and an F2 with plain prism, which I use with manual focus F-mount lenses.

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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    If your intent is to use it with AF lenses then F6 for sure.

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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    When I discovered that the cameras I could only dream of as a teenager were available for next to nothing, I went on a spree. I acquired a Pentax MX to go with the ME Super, K1000 , SF-1 and SF10 I had from the 70's and 80's, an OM-1 and an OM-2 to go with the PenFT that I already had, then a couple of FM3a's and finally an F6 (well, that one wasn't so cheap!) I use them mostly for fun, but if I'm serious about wanting a good result I will use the F6. An autofocus Nikon will be a necessity if your AF glass is newer and lacks aperture rings and decent focus rings. None of them will have the quality of Leica glass, but there are times when I'm lazy and want the convenience of the AF and AE of the F6. For reliable and speedy results, the F6 with a Rondinax tank, Qualls' monobath, an ancient Kleen-Dri film dryer and a fast scanner such as the KM5400 II I can go from pressing the shutter to scans in LR in an hour. I guess it comes down to what you want in the way of enjoying the process. I actually like working with film simply because it is familiar, comforting and yet challenging and rewarding. The more I have to put in, the greater the reward, never mind if the photos are good or not. So when I'm masochistic and want to put in lots of effort it will be an old meterless MF or a LF camera. When I want to use a Leica it will usually be the M7, and when I want fast results it will be the F6. Given you are looking at Nikons, I'll add that I just about always pick the F6 over the FM3a.
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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    As stated above, if you AF glass is "gelded" - G type - skip everything, do not collect $200.- go straight for the F6.

    If you have AF glass with the drive by wire AF system - I would give the F3HP a good look at - like Chrism I bought one a few years ago to settle a teen desire..... it is a classic camera - but I use it way too little.

    The screen can be exchanged for a F5/F6 - giving you a very bright modern viewfinder.

    That said, I also really like the petite FM3A........ my favorite camera for B&W.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    I would say F6 all the way. For AF, it's the obvious choice, and even for MF, it's very good. F3 for nostalgia (and price), but the F6 is such a sweet machine.

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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    The F6 is my last remaining pro-style film camera. Have recently let go Hassy 903SWC, Hassy Arcbody, Leica M6 and Xpan. Only keeping the F6, so I suppose that is my answer
    David
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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    F6 without a doubt. It's my Df's natural companion and works as well with all the same lenses. I got mine because I wanted the best Nikon film camera that you're ever likely to see again. Simply superb.

    I only have one other 35mm film camera and that's the irreplaceable XPan II. If you're going to shoot and process film then you may as well make it a memorable or special experience and hence the F6 and XPan systems provide that experience and results.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Money not an object. You want a film cam. You already have a bunch of Nikon AF glass. This is for fun and mainly nostalgia, but okay, some actual ART, but not professional work. Do you totally regress and get an F3HP manual cam, an F4 -- the first good AF pro film Nikon -- or the last "state-of-the-art" film cam, the F6???
    I started with an F Photomic FTn in 1969. Over the years, I had and used the F2, FM, FM2, FE2, FM2n, and F3/T bodies ... Loved them all, really, never got involved with the AF models. And had acquired a kit of about a dozen favorite lenses.

    That all changed in 2003 when I sold nearly everything to move into digital capture.

    Lots of water under the bridge since, and I found myself in 2011 being gifted with a black Nikon F Photomic FTn. I'd already re-acquired a couple of my favorite lenses from the past to use with other cameras, so I had a nice 50/1.2 AI-S, a Micro 55/3.5 Pre-AI, and a Nikkor-H 85/1.8 pre-AI as well to use with it.

    Another friend gave me a sorely neglected 1964 F plain prism. The shutter was jammed from sitting for a decade in a basement bottom drawer without a lens on it, but otherwise it was clean and without corrosion. I had it overhauled, it's perfect now. I gave the black F Photomic FTn to another friend who desperately wanted it. And along the way an 18/3.5, 28/2, and 105/2.8 Micro came to me.

    So a few weeks or months ago, that same friend handed me the F6 he'd been using. I'd never held one before. Smaller than the F4-F5, tight and professional feeling. Loved it immediately.

    I found a nice clean one, perfect shape, for less than $700. I had the pre-AI lenses AI'ed so I can use the metering. I bought a Type A screen for it, and a remote release, and a couple of other little bits.

    Two bodies, F and F6, the first and last of the great pro Nikon film SLRs. Six lenses ... sheesh, I really should get one or two AF lenses too. So I'm back in the film Nikon camp to play. Nostalgia can be an expensive thing, eh?

    Thankfully, The Reduction is continuing well so despite getting an F6 body and a couple of other bits, the closet is getting emptier week by week. :-)

    G
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    Senior Member PSon's Avatar
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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    F6
    ALPA (MAX, STC, TC) | CAMBO (Actus DB2, WRS-AE) | CONTAX | HASSELBLAD | LEICA | DB (CFV-16, CFV-39, IQ180, IQ360, IQ3100, P45+) | Lens (Canon, Fujinon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Rodenstock, Schneider, Zeiss)

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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    The F6 is indeed the finest SLR ever made...but despite the weight, I prefer the Nikon F5. You can get 2 or 3 F5 bodies for the price of an F6.

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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    When the F4 was introduced I was working as a service tech in an independent Nikon service shop.
    The local (Washington DC area) Nikon rep brought one of the first F4 cameras for us to check out.

    I didn't like it then, and don't like it now. It's heavy and awkward, and works worse than my lazy brother.

    At the time I had an F3HP and used it extensively.
    Now I have two F3-T/HP cameras with MD-4s and still use them a lot (one for each eye ).

    I also have a D800e, and have purchased additional lenses for it.
    I don't buy any G-series lenses (lacking the aperture ring).

    - Leigh

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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    I would get the F5 50th anniversary just because it looks so great. I have not used the F6, which is likely a better camera, though.

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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    Yep, once you said you wanted to stick with AF glass F6. But I still have an old F with enough MF lenses to do whatever. I did buy a nostalgia piece the other day. a Fuji GS645W with a 45mm lens. It is a zone focus camera with a few f/stops and a complete shutter speed set from 1/500-1 second. I really loved this camera in the eighties it was my travel camera. i would take 10-20 rolls of 220 film and play. Alas it was stolen along with my Alpa and Leica and since they were not my "work" cameras I never replaced any of them until the other day. I tried to use it along with my digital equipment. I left the lens cap on for half of a roll of 120, forgot to adjust the zone focus for another half of a roll. It was every bad joke and bonehead move possible, and I have to say, the new equipment 9meaning digital) is so mych better I really do not miss all the large format, medium format gear that I have or have had compared to what modern gear can do. Funny isn't it?

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    Senior Member 4season's Avatar
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    Re: Film 35mm ---- Nikon F3HP, F4 or F6???

    Quote Originally Posted by jsf View Post
    I left the lens cap on for half of a roll of 120, forgot to adjust the zone focus for another half of a roll. It was every bad joke and bonehead move possible, and I have to say, the new equipment 9meaning digital) is so mych better I really do not miss all the large format, medium format gear that I have or have had compared to what modern gear can do. Funny isn't it?
    Don't blame the camera?

    But the bigger the format, the easier it is to play with shallow DOF and still have a wide field of view!

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