With the FIVE metering systems* deployed in the F4 as the backbone and an extensive camera/lens compatibility, the exposure control in the Nikon F4 was the most comprehensive ever built-into a professional Nikon SLR thus far at the time of its introduction. It includes Five exposure modes are available - Manual (M), High-Speed Program (PH), Normal Program (P), Shutter-Priority (S) and Aperture-Priority (A). For exposure refinement they are are seconded via an easy accessed Exposure Compensation Dial, Auto-exposure lock and an optional Auto-Bracketing via choice of two Multi-control Function Camera Backs. * ambient /flash with balance filled-in capability operating with various exposure control modes as well as Stopped Down Metering are included.
Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Jochem Wijnands ®. Jochem is a professional photographer and has an excellent online portfolio on his own and you may also contact via his e-mail. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
The "command centre" of the Nikon F4 in exposure control are smartly centered at the right hand side of the top panel where everything in relation to fine-tuning exposures can be found here (except the case of the button activated AE-L (Exposure Lock) which locates at the front section of the camera where your middle finger naturally rest. It involves at little combination of human engineering and fuzzy logic, as in any normal SLR camera operation sequence, some of the control levers and button s such as Depth of Field Preview, AF-L (autofocus Lock) and AE-L button are usually operated via the tip of the center and second last finger, this enables more responsive execution of some basic commands.
As the built-in film advance eliminated the need of a physical film advance lever as well as the shutter release button has been reassigned to the front hand grip, the Shutter Speed Dial, exposure compensation dial and Exposure Modes Selector lever are all positioned together to facilitate easy access and enables the photographers to operate one or in combination with other features in relation to autofocus, film advance modes etc. You may think such arrangements in a Nikon camera are very normal and logical to you but only to take a competing brand such as a Contax SLRs to appreciate the level of convenience a Nikon can provide to aid the photographer during shooting (Contax has its shutter release button locates at the right while the shutter speed dial is located at the top right hand panel of the camera, the traditional shutter speed dial is actually the exposure compensation ring - until now, it still keeps me wondering what is the logic behind all the creative minds inside the mind of Porche Design's industrial designers.
The main control in exposure control is the Exposure Mode Selector. Locating just at the right hand side and under the exposure compensation dial. There were some debates during those days in relation to the design of whether should the dial/lever be exchanged (i.e. the Exposure Mode Selector lever should be designed as a Dial and reverse the exposure compensation dial into lever instead).
This selector makes available the F4's five exposure modes: Manual (M), Aperture-Priority Auto (A), Shutter-Priority Auto (S), and two Programmed Auto modes (PH, P). The same applies to any earlier Nikon AF-SLRs such as F-801 etc. or even the MF Nikon FA in relation to lens compatibility, although Nikon insists that a Nikkor lens-type with a CPU should be used with the F4 in order the "PH", "P" and "S" modes but it should also be operational when an Ai-S lense is used with the aperture stopped down to its minimum aperture; however, Nikon has designed the F4 in a different way from the FA where it will override the lense identification, so if you are operating in the three "PH, "P," or "S" modes and if a Nikkor lense without a CPU is attached to the camera, the F4 will automatically switch to "A" mode and center-weighted metering. As the F4 was introduced during an early premature period of autofocus, there bound to be a lot owners of MF-Nikkor lenses and it has also caused some criticism because the AF-Nikkor, with its limited choices of lense-types and varieties, was still far from calling it as a matured system yet and in order to fully utilize the potential of the camera's exposure control systems it offers, an CPU lense ought to be used where MF Nikkors still have limitations with the Nikon F4
RELATIVE: check the couplers, couplings and levers and pin on both Nikon F4 and Nikon F5 lens mounts. Another is the lens compatibilty section which illustrate the lense mount and lenses.
In a rare case senario, the limited edition Nikon F4P that recently surfaced that designed specifically for NPC members has TWO additional shutter speed settings of 1/350 sec and 1/750 sec. see the Variant Section for more info. Well, other than in manual exposure control which may see a different operational sequence, other auto exposure control modes are likely to have less impact of such inclusions. Anyway, we will go through the various exposure control modes one by one to evaluate their respective functions:
PROGRAMMED AUTO EXPOSURE MODES (PH, P)
Programmed auto exposure operation was for the first time carry out in a professional class Nikon SLR in the F4. This is inevitable because once we are in a high-tech camera competitions, there will be no turning back - where the same applies to Matrix metering. Technically, with these two elements combined along with autofocus capability, the Nikon F4 behaves exactly how a compact P&S camera performs. Program AE is an ideal way to deal with ever-changing conditions and/or situations where there is little time to react to setup the camera (or those who may be unsure of their photographic skills, hehe ...). It is also the simplest method for exposure control and in fact, more and more photographers are shooting in this mode as it frees the user from diversion of attention in taking care of other non-relative elements involves in a picture taking situation. Personally, I supported inclusion of this mode as well because as long as you are well versed with photographic basic, there is no such necessity to demonstrate how a image is "created"
Setup the F4 for Dual Programmed AE modes:
Slide the Exposure Mode Selector to PH or P; ensure the AF mode is turn to either "S" (single) or "C" (Continuous AF) position on the AF Shooting Mode selector switch; and lock the lense's to its minimum aperture value.
There are two settings at the selector, a "PH" Mode indicates a high-speed program and a "P" which signifies normal Program AE (Auto-exposure). With a capable lense attached, the communication between the camera/lense interface will enable the F4 to recognize the focal length of the lense where it will in turns instructs camera's built-in circuitry to use the fastest possible shutter speed for a theoretically correct exposure combination. Generally, the separation point is 135mm to distinguish the use of high Speed Program and Normal Programmed AE. For any AF-Nikkor (or Ai-P lenses where both of these series of Nikkor lenses have built-in CPUs), the communication is more straight forward because the process of relaying all information in relation to essential data which includes lens types, focal length and Min/Max apertures are via electrical contacts. For lenses without a CPU, exposure mode is automatically set to Aperture Priority Auto (A). On a practical aspect of the PH and P, the difference is mainly confined to minimize possible handshake due to, in theory - longer focal length requires higher shutter speed in order to minimize blurry images, naturally the compromise could be depth of field, where higher shutter speed(s) also means the lense will automatically set for the maximum available aperture(s) it can provide. So if you intend to gain maximum depth of field with your long tele-lense in used, just turn to other Auto modes such as Aperture Priority AE instead.
* Stepless means even if the LCD displays a 1/125 sec, camera could actually be firing at an odd 1/135 or 1/102 sec. etc. but a closest shutter speed (from 30 sec to 1/8800 sec is in 1/2 stop increment) corresponds to step-shutter speed will be shown.
Viewfinder Display in Programmed AE Modes
Shutter speed is controlled virtually steplessly from 30 sec. to 1/8800 second. Controlled aperture value and shutter speed are virtually steplessly selected *, and indicated in the viewfinder LCD in 1/2 EV steps.
Setting the exposure mode to PH (high-speed program) or P (normal program) lets you choose the program. Frankly, I don't understand why there is a need to separate the dual program as it can actually do it automatically via auto focal length recognition which likely to be the more likely scenario you will be experiencing. However, it does has its usage because you can actually overridden the Program auto recognition by instructing the camera always engaging in high speed program regardless the focal length of the lense in used.
Nikon F4's Dual Program Chart (e.g. 50mm f/14, ISO100). The EV (Exposure Value) chart demonstrates the difference between the Nikon F4's normal and high-speed programs. Follow either line to where it intersects a diagonal line. This shows the combination of aperture (vertical line) and shutter speed (horizontal line). Please note the High brightness limit when using any of the two Program AE modes in Matrix metering where the ceiling is 16 1/3 EV.
With the F4's standard DP-20 Mulit-Metered Finder attached, the viewfinder displays a "P" which indicates you are operating in program mode but it will never indicates whether you are in High Speed Program or Normal Program AE The only guess is perhaps the aperture which shown at next to the "P" will gives you an idea whether you are in PH or not. i.e. the maximum aperture of the lense you are using will be shown if you are using a PH Mode. The LED will react differently when other finders are used (see left hand side).
Possible scenarios of LCD display in Programmed AE mode.
Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Steven G. MAKA ® <email@example.com>. Steven is a professional photographer and has an excellent online image gallery on his own at http://www.MAKAphotography.com. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
In some abnormal situation where the display changes to a message "FEE", itself as a reminder that the aperture on the lense could have not set to its minimum aperture and/or accidentally slips out from its minimum setting. In such case, just reset and lock the minimum aperture and the message should goes off and you can resume shooting. If you are using a MF non-CPU Ai/Ai-S-Nikkor lense is used with this the camera's setting set to either P or PH mode on the exposure selector lever, the LCD will revert into Aperture Priority AE's display. In another possible scenario, If the light level for any given scene is too bright and/or too dim for the camera metering range to handle, the shutter speed message will be replaced with "HI" or "LO" (see above LCD for cross reference). In these instances, many options are available to correct or enable the metered exposure falls back to within a workable metering range. Common ways are changing to another exposure modes, use ND filters, altering a film types with faster/slower ISO speed or use a flash.
Please take note: All the exposure control methods such as Program AE modes/Aperture Priority AE/Shutter Priority AE and even Manual Exposure Control can be used singularly or in conjunction with F4's flash metering to extend for a wider scope of applications such as syncho-sunlight balanced-filled flash photography.
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Part I - IV: | Dual Program AE | Shutter Priority AE | Aperture Priority AE with Alternative Controls | Manual Exposure Control |
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Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
W A R N I N G: The New G-SERIES Nikkor lenses have no aperture ring on the lense, they (s) when operating in manual exposure control even with certain earlier AF Nikon SLR camera models. Similarly, not ALL features provide in a modern AF-S series AF-Nikkor lenses can be utilized fully with a Nikon F4. Please refer to your local distributor for compatibility issue(s).
PLEASE NOTE: Complimentary links are appreciative but it is not necessary, I have limited bandwidth here in this server... So, PLEASE don't distribute this URL to any bulk mailing list or unrelated user-groups, just be a little considerate, thank you. (The more you distribute, the slower this server will response to your requests...). I am NOT a Nikon nor Nikkor expert, so don't send me any mails, use the Message Board Instead. While the content prepared herein should be adequate for anyone to understand and evaluate whether you should invest into a used Nikon F4 pro-camera system for your kind of photography. Well, IF you like what you have seen so far, please help to perfect this site by reporting any broken links or any errors made.
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Credit: Chuck Hester, US for his patience, encouragement and help to setup the various content in this site; Robert Johnson for some of his original images on the F2H-MD appeared in this site; my ex-staff, KiaSu for his superb 3-D logo appeared in this Nikon F2 site; Marc Vorgers from Holland who generously provide me with some of his images of F2AS; MCLau®, who has so much time with me to re-edit the content in this site and not to mention buying a Nikon Coolpix 990 just for this site; Paul Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org) for his explantion of the FF2 Slidemagic and Nikon F2 Pin Camera Keat Photo, Kuala Lumpur for providing their Nikon F2A to take some images for this site; Mr Edward Ngoh the great camera collector who provides us his collection of F2AS with MD-2; hawkeye.photographic.com for their images on the Speed Magny film backs; Sean Cranor for his image on Nikon F2 25th Anniversary Model; Ted Wengelaar®, Holland for his continuous flow of input on some of the early Nikon bodies; Genesis-Camera for granting permission to use an image of the SS-F2 camera; Mr Sover Wong, Australia for those great images of his rare F2 Gold;CYLeow ®, photo editor of the Star newspaper, Malaysia for some of his images used in this site. Ms Rissa Chan, Sales manager from Shriro Malaysia who has helped to provide some of the very useful input. HiuraShinsaku®, Nikomat ML, Japan for some of his images on various F2 models; my staff, Wati, Maisa, Mai and my nephew, EEWyn®, who volunteered and helping me did so many of the film scanning works; Hong-sien Kwee of Singapore for all the Nikon F2 Pin camera images appeared in this site; Luigi Crescenzi for many of his images on the Nikon F2 Titan; John for two of his images of the Nikon F2/T used in this site; Contributing photographers or resellers: Jen Siow, Foo KokKin, Arthur Teng, Mark Fallander, John Ishii, Ed Hassel, YoonKi Kim, Jean-Louis, M.Dugentas (Dell Corner.com.), Mr "Arsenall", Yang Zi Xiong and a few images mailed in from surfers with no appropriate reference to their origin. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures published by Nikon and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their own work to publish in this site based on educational merits. The creator of this site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from such possible dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. A site made with an Apple IMac.