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Thread: Nikon Film Body?

  1. #1
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    Nikon Film Body?

    Ok, courtesy of the ever kind and friendly Cindy Flood, have a Nikon V Coolscan enroute. Stupidly sold my 5000ED and all film gear a couple of years ago and regretted it since.

    Use a Canon 1Ds2 primarily shooting Voigtlander SL, SLII and Mamiya M645 glass via adapters. Looking for some possible AiS glass in future as well. Have shot with Nikon D1, D1H series, Fuji S3, Nikon FE2, in past. Use Elinchrom lighting (modest) and Nikon SB-80dxs and SB-24 (w/IR filter as wireless trigger) as flashes in small SBs, modifiers as well.

    Am thinking F5, maybe F4/S, but thought my exploration might make a good discussion of various bodies. My thoughts/requirements/musings as background:
    ------------------------------------------------------

    1. Not looking to spend big $$, say $400 and under for a BGN model.
    2. More heft than say FE2. Loved mine, but found mirror slap with such low-mass body not to my liking.
    3. Must have MLU (rules out F100)
    4. More metering functions with AiS, an Ai-P (chipped AiS a la Cv SLII), the better.
    5. AF would be preferred but not absolute.
    6. The 3D Color Metering of F5 sounds sweet for use with AFD glass.
    7 Size not a big concern.
    8. Ability to use common batteries would be nice - as in AAs, etc vs. requiring charger.
    9. Has to be able to take abuse.

    10. Optional VFs like Waist Level MIGHT be nice. Have Mamiya M645 bellows en-route and might come in handy when body mounted on same.

    That should get the chatter going. Thoughts?
    Last edited by robmac; 22nd May 2009 at 14:10.

  2. #2
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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    The F4 certainly has heft.

    If it were me I'd go for F100, but if MLU is a must, then you've got two choices the way I see it...F4 or F5, especially considering #10. KEH seems to have plenty of options.

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    #10 isn't critical - just might be neat (vs a 90 degree eyepiece), all other things being equal.

    The F100 (F5 Lite as it were) is well regarded, but the lack of MLU seems an odd omission on Nikon's part. Out of contention might be a stretch, but it's a negative.

    Have also read some not so nice things about the F4's metering accuracy.

  4. #4
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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    I've owned F100, F4, and F5, never noticed any metering issues with the F4.

    Been thinking of an F100 to use with Leica R glass...

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    I'll cast my vote for (in order) F3, FM2, F100. I think if you are shooting film, which is quite a different beast than your 1DsII, a really light-weight body makes it even more of a counterpoint. Most of my issues with the F100 are autofocus related.

    My first "real" camera was a Nikon FM and I took it everywhere because it was small and light, and the camera with any lens short of my 70-200 zoom fit conveniently in the pocket of my North Face jacket. I loved the F2 but never took it anywhere because it is a TANK. The FM and F3 I loved.

    By contrast, my DMR -- much like your 1DsII, is big, heavy, doesn't conveniently fit in any pocket and as a result, doesn't really go anywhere.

    BTW, does anyone have a F3 standard prism they would like to trade for a HP prism? I would rather have the magnification over the high eyepoint.

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    During course of current research have come across some comments regarding F4 metering vs F5.

    F3 - interesting. Certainly raise some good points on small bodies going with vs larger one staying home. Like my Fe2 for that reason, but found body almost too low mass with mirror slap. That said, there is the (rather substantive) motor drive for same...

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Rob,

    I would recommend F5 based on your requirements. If you are thinking about using Nikon Ais lenses, F5 won't have matrix metering unless the lens is chipped. It is a very durable body and can be used as a hammer! F3 will also be an excellent choice. The mirror slap is much less than FE2. If you use F3 with MD4, it is even less noticeable. But If mirror return slap is very import to you, both F5 and F3 have fair amount of mirror return vibration. In my own experience, the F6 and R8/9 have the best mirror return mechanism design. Have you considered Leica SLR bodies (I remember you have some R lenses)?

    Kind regards,

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Are there any bodies that offer matrix metering with AIS lenses?

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    Are there any bodies that offer matrix metering with AIS lenses?
    Both F4 and F6 offer matrix metering for non-chipped AIS lenses.

    Kind regards,

  10. #10
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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    What about adding chips to AIS lenses, is anyone still doing that?

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    FM2n or FM3A would by my suggestions - all considered. The FM construction is IMO very close to perfection re SLR design. They´re small (my sausage fingers don´t complain), but still have the FEEL of heft - and they balance almost anything nicely. Great meters and shutters.
    leif e
    F2, FM2, D700, 3,5/20 UD, 2/35, 3,5/55, CV 2,5/75 (all ai or ai´d), 1,8/85 af-d,
    2,8/60 af-d

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Getting some great research ideas here. Thanks all.

    What I found with the FE/2 is that the mirror had a tendency to really induce shake in the body if not very careful. Not surprising as big mirror and light/tiny body. Coming from R8 w/motorgrip, and various pro digital bodies was surprising. Amazing camera otherwise.

    As said, the F4 variants and the F6 will matrix meter w/unchipped glass. Nice thing is that Cv SLII glass is chipped. Won't trigger F5s Color 3D Matrix system (need AF, AFD), but...

    F6 would be simply wonderful, but maybe as next step. Right now this film body is just as a 2nd, simple, backup to the 1Ds2. Want something with no charger to lug around, a cleaning kit that is simply a blower and a lens cloth and robust but cheap enough that can simply just not worry about.

    Am also pondering a possible move to Nikon used D3x/new 700x in 12-24 mos - love 1Ds2, EoS glass not so much. A positive for say an F5 (F6) would be ability to refresh memory on similar Nikon ergos, size, handling, switchology -- been awhile since I sold by D1, D1H. AF would be nice (all else being equal)a s would ability to control G glass and use IS lenses (e.g. F5-6) just in case.

    Counter to this, high-end 35mm film bodies are so cheap, one could easily get an F3/4, FMxx today and get an F5/6 later once have proper glass.

    Ocean - LOVED my R8 with grip, it just transformed the body. Made you want to carry it everywhere. As you say, nice mirror mech, VF and awesome 'switchology'. That said, my copy had the infamous scratches on leading and trailing negatives issue. Have also sold all my R glass (sigh). Fell in love with Mamiya M645 on DSLRs - and have shifted my other glass to CV SL APO and SLII. Too curious about other glass for my own good ;>

    leif - will check out the FM2N and FM3A - anything you could mention as pros/cons between the two?

    Regards

    Rob

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Don't forget the FA, it will matrix meter with old glass. The FMs are the old-style center weighted.

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Thanks Monza. Half the process is trying to keep the myriad of Nikon models straight. Just looking at some F6 material. Talk about sublime. Alas, maybe later.

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    F5 is probably the best value right now. Whether it's what you need is a different question. You might like the locks on all dials and switches, or it might drive you nuts when switching from later Nikon bodies. Lithium AA batteries will shave a few ounces off the weight.
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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Lars - I am leaning that way I must admit. I like a heftier body, I prefer the Nikon switchology, it has a lot of pluses but few minuses and value-wise it costs roughly the same as an F4, F3, FMNxyz, etc. Clean F5s in the $275-325 territory on Fleabay seem about average.

  17. #17
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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    The F6 is stilled shown on Nikon's website but I believe it is now a legacy product, sold out in many locations. If you stumble across a used F6 with low mileage it may be worth considering -- or buying.

    Personally, I opted for the FM3a as my last film SLR, basically a manual SLR. It is functional without a battery, has metering when a battery is in place. I use it with Leica Z primes, occasionally take it for a walk with the Nikon 45mm pancake lens. Probably not what you are looking for, no autofocus.

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Oxide,

    The F6 is an object of lust. Would be ideal, but will save that for next step in 135 film (if there is one vs MF) - barring finding an etxra $1K under the sofa cushions that is ;> The price gap between a clean F5 and a similar F6 is just too great at the moment given my usage intent and camera differences (size aside).

    AF isn't a necessity - of all the lenses I own, only one is AF. Logically should be more, but prefer the process of MF, the IQ of Zeiss/Mamiya/Leica/CV, etc lenses vs Canon -- and the Canon Lens Lottery has exhausted my patience.

    The issue becomes that most of the cameras we've discussed have dropped so far in value (actually the more modern bodies more so vs legacy units) that they are very close in price (F6 aside). $200-$300 +/- will get you any of the Fxxx -> F5.

    So, given the similarity in price ($300 ish or under), what the F5 gives you is AF if/when wanted (e.g. future 14-24G, 24-70G), use of VR glass, use of G and full use of chipped glass, MLU, fps, weather sealing, databack (optional), different VFs if desired, tough as nails reputation, self-monitoring shutter, from all accounts, superlative metering, latest dot & arrows manual focus confirmation (nice to have), controls similar to latest Nikon FX bodies.

    On the down side you have the size and complexity and no matrix metering with legacy glass.

    Given the similarity in $$, the features/$1 and the 'future-proof' (for 135 film) nature of the F5 and the 'ease' with which it would slide into a possible D3x/D700x family keeps, to me, having the camera wave from the line-up of possibilities.

    Now, while it may sound like I've made up my mind, such is not the case - just a little less undecided as when I first started the research ;>

  19. #19
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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    I would get the f6 if you can(I just might)if you cant Id go back to a mint f3 which if you keep it clean might just increase in value a little for you .

  20. #20
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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Decisions, decisions. I sure would like to have matrix metering with Leica R glass, but I don't see how that's possible. Does the F6 work like a D200/D300 where legacy lenses can be entered into the camera with max aperture?

    EDIT: yes it does.
    Last edited by monza; 25th May 2009 at 06:39.

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Don't believe the F6 has that data-entry ability re: lens data.

    Now I don't see why an F4 or F6 (which offer matrix with AiS glass) would treat a Leica R+leitax bayonet or a Mamiya unit, etc any differently than any other AiS unit - e.g. allow matrix metering. I do stand to be corrected on this..

  22. #22
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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    According to this, it does:

    "Manual Focus Lens Data

    The great news is that the F6 is the only Nikon film SLR in 20 years to give matrix metering with manual focus lenses.

    On my D200, a custom setting lets you use the FUNC button to enter a lens' focal length and maximum aperture using the two command dials. In a second I can set my D200 for any manual lens.

    My F6 is different. It allows me to program up to 10 lenses into its memory, and then use the FUNC button, with only one command dial, to recall any of them in an instant."

    I believe matrix metering requires the camera to know the max aperture...I don't think this is possible on F4, there is no way to tell the camera what max aperture is, on a converted Leica lens.

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    If you are going to do the Nikon film thing - there is only one 'modern' Nikon - and that is the F3HP with motor drive. Get yourself a 28 /2.8, 50/1.2, and 105/2.5 - a brick of TRX and go for it. No shutter makes the same sound - bliss. A very good condition body and 3 lenses should set you back maybe $600 - dont forget to fire the shutter every few months and to take the batteries out of the motor drive in between!

    Way back - I had an F4s and traded it back after a few months for a new F3. the auto focus on the F4 is slower than a blind man on manual and an f3 - anyway you DONT WANT autofocus on this baby or MLU - thats all for sissy boyz.

    also dont forget to over cook the TRX and use plenty of agitation..you want globs of FAT grain ..

    good luck
    retro pete

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Mots colorful commentary yet Peter ;> Thanks.

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Heh. For Tri-X I'll stick with an old M2 or M3, no shutter makes the same sound.

    After thinking about it more, although max aperture can be entered into the F6, the aperture ring is still not coupled and it would be stop down metering so I'm not sure there are any options for matrix metering and Leica R lenses.

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    If you are going to do the Nikon film thing - there is only one 'modern' Nikon - and that is the F3HP with motor drive. Get yourself a 28 /2.8, 50/1.2, and 105/2.5 - a brick of TRX and go for it.
    Switch that 28 f/2.8 for an Ai'd 28 f/2 and you have my setup. I do prefer the F4 over the F3 for the ergonomics and matrix metering, but there's something about the feel and sounds of the F3HP....

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    If you do not want to spend the money, do NOT place a F6 in your hands.

    Size, heft, mind boggling speed, sound, feel ... Nikon went out absolutely on top as the best 35mm film camera ever made. Had them all over the years, but this camera managed to surprize and delight .... like slinging the past over your shoulder and strolling into the future.

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    LOL - no risk there. getting an F6 in my hand around here is about as likely as my getting nominated for sainthood. Hell, an F4 would be a real stretch.

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    The F6 is really pretty amazing -- I just wish it was in R mount...I just love the Nikon bodies, but the lenses just don't really impress me...the problem with spending years shooting Leica, Schneider, Zeiss and Mamiya...and for whatever reason the ZF lenses have not really won me over either. As amazing as the F6 is, I think if you want to shoot R lenses, the R8 or R9 are hard to beat. They are excellent cameras, and the metering is not quite matrix, but it is very reliable (all three -- multi-segment, center and spot). For its part, the F6 feels nicer in the hand (my hands anyway), and of course it is autofocus, auto advance, has more sophisticated metering and an endless array of custom functions and features. It is also much smaller than the R9 with a motor drive.

    The F6 has a nice data imprinting feature too. It puts the shooting information in between the frames. It works really well, you just have to remember not to replace the film halfway through the roll if you are in the habit of doing so -- as you advance past the shots you have already made, it will imprint the data over the already shot frames.

    And yes, you can enter the focal length and aperture information for R lenses, but they are still stop down metered, so I am not sure they will matrix meter properly other than wide open.
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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    The F6 is really pretty amazing -- I just wish it was in R mount...I just love the Nikon bodies, but the lenses just don't really impress me...the problem with spending years shooting Leica, Schneider, Zeiss and Mamiya...and for whatever reason the ZF lenses have not really won me over either. As amazing as the F6 is, I think if you want to shoot R lenses, the R8 or R9 are hard to beat. They are excellent cameras, and the metering is not quite matrix, but it is very reliable (all three -- multi-segment, center and spot). For its part, the F6 feels nicer in the hand (my hands anyway), and of course it is autofocus, auto advance, has more sophisticated metering and an endless array of custom functions and features. It is also much smaller than the R9 with a motor drive.

    The F6 has a nice data imprinting feature too. It puts the shooting information in between the frames. It works really well, you just have to remember not to replace the film halfway through the roll if you are in the habit of doing so -- as you advance past the shots you have already made, it will imprint the data over the already shot frames.

    And yes, you can enter the focal length and aperture information for R lenses, but they are still stop down metered, so I am not sure they will matrix meter properly other than wide open.
    I think that depends on what you're shooting. I used a R8 and R6.2 for many years. For walk around street shooting and wedding/event work in B&W, I prefer a F6 and a couple of the modern Nikon AFS nanocoated lenses, or occassionally a select ZF like the 35/2. If I want manual focus with W/A to normal focal length optics the R can't hold a candle to a M anyway. It's nice to have a really good film body for B&W films even if you shoot mostly Nikon digital.

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Personally although I love the F6 (as I did my F5 when I was really shooting lots of film) I just wish there was a way to use R lenses on the Contax RTSIII! I know it sounds silly since it has almost none of the modern features found on the F6 but this is one brick of a camera......the only one to successfully address the issue of film flatness.......the best viewfinder ever in my humble opinion (and I love the R9 as well but.......) and I would take it anywhere. The only missing link is that it has no manual mode to allow say a 1/60th or 1/125th second mechanical shutter speed when you are in a situation where you have no more batteries or they are lasting only a few minutes due to very low temps. All of the modern features are wonderful when they work but there are simply times when an old fashioned mechanical speed is a great situation. I love my M7 but there are just times when the M4-P is a better choice!

    Just my thoughts on the matter

    Woody

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    Re: Nikon Film Body?

    Still hunting around. Had thought about the Contax, but really want a body that will use my existing glass.

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