Categories
1980's Nikon

Nikon F4

Nikon F4

Not many cameras had the kind of features you’d want in the 1980s, except for the Nikon F4. These included:

  • Tough, durable, and reliable
  • Has diverse metering modes,
  • Came with a wide array of creative controls, and
  • Featured Automatic Focusing.

Released in September 1988, the F4 was the camera that brought SLR into the modern world—a real game-changer.

Here are some of the features that made the F4 such a game-changer.

Features of the Camera

Previous cameras in the Nikon F series were mainly improvements of what existed at the time.

  • The Nikon F improved on what Leica and Contax already had in the market. 
  • The F2 was an improved and reworked version of the F
  • The F3 was an evolution of the F2. It was an electronic version of the F2.

The Nikon F4 was different. It was built from scratch. Unlike its predecessors who didn’t come with any new technological innovations, the F4 featured several first.

It was the world’s first professional autofocus camera.

Automatic focus cameras had just started gaining popularity, and many professional photographers were looking for a good AF camera. Being the first pro AF camera made the F4 the top sports and News camera from 1989-1990.

The Nikon F4 was also the world’s first professional camera to feature the modern multi-pattern metering system. Although Nikon had earlier introduced a matrix metering system in the FA, the F4 had a more improved and accurate version.

With the F4, a photographer could choose between three metering modes.

  • Matrix
  • Centre-weighted
  • Spot metering

It was also the first camera with an electronically controlled vertically traveling focal plane shutter, and a shutter release on the vertical and horizontal grip.

The electronic shutter speed allowed the camera to achieve shutter speeds of between 30 sec-1/8000 sec—faster than any camera at the time.

Other Features

The Nikon F4 was also the first camera to feature an in-built motor drive. Previous cameras relied on an external motor.

Other than being a first, the F4 also had several extraordinary features.

One of these features was the large and bright viewfinder. The F4 came with a removable multi-meter finder DP-20 pentaprism. If you thought the F3 had an excellent viewfinder, the F4 had a better one.

And it wasn’t just one viewfinder,

The F4 came with a choice of ten easily interchangeable finders.

Nikon wasn’t done.

The F4 also featured a record five exposure modes. You had the choice of

  • Manual mode
  • Shutter priority
  • Aperture priority
  • Program mode
  • High-speed program mode.

What about lenses?

The F4 could accommodate all Nikon lenses produced since 1959.

Design and Physical Appearance

Legendary car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro designed the Nikon F4. The camera followed Giorgetto’s philosophy of Form follows Function.

Every part of the camera had to have a useful function.

And the result? An ergonomic masterpiece.

The F4 was the last professional camera with knobs and levers. Professional cameras after the F4 made use of menus and dials.

Thanks to the use of an in-built motor drive, the F4 didn’t come with a film advance lever.

Shortcomings of the Camera

One of the most significant complaints among F4 users is its weight. The F4 was a beast of a camera with a weight of 1280g without batteries.

It’s not the camera for a daily shooter.

The F4 autofocus was also not the best. It was slow and performed poorly in low light—the main reason the F4 didn’t experience much success.

Compared to the F5, the F4 matrix metering system was not the best.

Final Thoughts

The Nikon F4 was a revolutionary camera. It sits at the epicenter of the modern camera revolution.

Is the Nikon F a good camera for 2020?

Short answer, yes.

Not only is the F4 compatible with all manual and autofocus lenses manufactured since 1959, but it’s also still a great camera to carry and shoot with.

Nikon F4 SLR 35mm Film Camera Body

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Nikon F4 SLR 35mm Film Camera Body (No Finder or Battery Pack)

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Categories
1980's Nikon

Nikon F3AF

Nikon F3AF

The Nikon F3AF was born. A special and unique version of the highly famous F3. However, unlike other models in the F3 line, the F3AF came with some unique features.

The year is 1983.

Camera manufacturers are experimenting with prototype autofocus SLR cameras. Pentax, Olympus, and Canon already have experimental AF SLR models in the market.

Nikon, on the other hand, chooses a more radical approach. Rather than launching AF in a new flagship model, they choose their top of the line Nikon F3 as the template for their first autofocus camera.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the features of the Nikon F3AF

Features of the Camera

We’ll start with the most obvious.

The Nikon F3AF was an autofocus (AF)35mm SLR camera.

And not just any other AF 35mm SLR camera. It was among the first if not the first SLR to have an AF system based on Through The Lens (TTL) detection. Previous AF cameras from companies such as Canon used active infrared sensors for their AF system.

Another unique feature of the Nikon F3AF was the unique pentaprism.

The camera came with an AF finder DX, which featured a bright viewfinder with a 92% coverage—unlike other F3 models that had a 100% coverage on the viewfinder.

And that’s not all

The F3AF featured a superb 80/20 center-weighted metering system. It also came with a 150,000 cycle shutter reliability rating.

Talk about a camera built to last.

And there’s more

The F3AF was launched together with two AF lenses. These were:

  • AF Nikkor 80mm f/2.8
  • AF Nikorr 200mm f 3.6 EDIF

Despite having its lenses, Nikon maintained the F-mount, which meant that the F3AF could use all other Nikon lenses since 1959. The two lenses could also be used in manual Nikon SLRs.

As if that’s not enough…

The lenses also came with a revolutionary design. A feature that wouldn’t catch on until 15 years later.

Both lenses came with an in-lens motor that drew power from the camera. Cameras at the time and many cameras until the early 2000s had the motor inside the body and not the lens. 

The autofocus feature of the lens, as well as the increased zoom capability, made the lenses and the camera quite popular among sport and action photographers.

Design and Physical Appearance

The Nikon F3AF had the same design as the F3.

The F3AF was easy to handle and comfortable on the hand. It featured a subtle bump at the face of the camera to aid with your grip.

Most of the controls were located at the top.

On the top plate, you had:

  • The frame advance crank on the right
  • The shutter speed dial on the right
  • The shutter release button on the right.
  • The top left plate housed the Exposure compensation and ISO dial.

Shortcomings of the Camera

One of the most significant shortcomings with the F3AF was the weight of the AF lens. The AF lenses were heavier than other Nikon manual lenses.

Like the F3, the F3AF also has problems with the LCD, which seems to lose functionality in time. You may have to replace it after prolonged use.

The autofocus system was also not perfect as compared to other later cameras. However, the F3AF also featured a manual focus mode. 

Final Thoughts

The F3AF was the most unique of the F3 series. Although it didn’t experience as much success as other F3 cameras, it is still an incredible camera.

A trendsetter for the Nikon AF family and a worthy addition to your vintage camera collection.

Nikon F3AF 35mm AF SLR Film Camera Black Body Excellent from Japan

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Categories
1980's Canon

Canon T90

Canon T90
BrandCanon
Release Year1986
Release Price148,000 yen (~$1,350)
Lens MountFD Mount

CANON T90 35MM SLR CAMERA + CANON FD 50MM F1.8 LENS *EXCELLENT*

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Categories
1980's Canon

Canon T80

Canon T80
BrandCanon
Release Year1985
Release Price85,000 yen (~$775)
Lens MountFD Mount

Canon T80 Auto-focus Film Camera with 35-70mm Zoom Lens

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Categories
1980's Canon

Canon T70

Canon T70
BrandCanon
Release Year1984
Release Price69,000 yen (~$630)
Lens MountFD Mount

Canon T70 35 mm Program Camera

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Canon T70 camera

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Categories
1980's Canon

Canon T50

Canon T50
BrandCanon
Release Year1983
Release Price45,000 yen (~$410)
Lens MountFD Mount

Canon T50 SLR Camera - Vivitar Wide Angle Lense - 35mm

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Canon T50 35mm Film SLR Camera + Tamron 90mm F2.5 Macro Lens

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Categories
1980's Canon

Canon AL-1

Canon AL-1
BrandCanon
Release Year1982
Release Price58,000 yen (~$530)
Lens MountFD Mount

Vintage Canon AL-1 35mm SLR Camera w/QF Quick Focus +Canon FD 50mm 1:1.8 Lens

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Categories
1980's Canon

Canon AE-1 Program

Canon AE-1 Program
BrandCanon
Release Year1981
Release Price60,000 yen (~$550)
Lens MountFD Mount

Canon AE-1 Program 35mm camera +Canon 50mm 1:1.8 Lens EXCELLENT++

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Categories
1980's Canon

Canon New F-1

Canon new F-1
BrandCanon
Release Year1981
Release Price149,000 yen (~$1,350)
Lens MountFD Mount

Canon F-1 New w/50mm f/1.8

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Canon F1 New

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