To design a SLR with the aim to bridge two objectives of fulfilling an obligation of ensuring manual focus camera users to step up to autofocus while at the same time, positioning the flagship model of a prominent SLR makers to take on others in a highly competitive market place was no means an easy task. In this respect, I think F4's has served its truthful value deservingly. The basic design is a mix between conventional and futuristic control. It carries dial, rings, levers and buttons traditionally found in many popular SLRs during the '70 and '80. Without doubt, the commitment to support older system has called for a transitional change in camera control and in this area, Nikon adopted an conservative approach. It has also casted a direct influence over basic configuration of the design of the F4.
<<< ---- Image from my copyright-free image collection. Malaysian Internet Resources
Although the camera's shape functional through and through and it is also a very nice-looking SLR (especially with the High Speed MB-21 Power pack installed), in fact, I can easily rate the F4s as the best looking Nikon SLR camera ever in its FORM although I do have some personal reservation over design of the hand grip section. The design projects with a strong sense of rock-solid stability. One of the best features is, if you have handled any MF Nikon bodies before, all available features and control in the F4 will makes your hands and fingers feel instantly at home. The Nikon designed is like an extension of old N ikon ways and perhaps, it might partly explain of its immense popularity during its initial introduction.
As compared to any of the previous Nikon professional class F-bodies, one significant feature in the F4 is its smooth curves, rounded surface. All the contoured dials and buttons are are easy to understand and manipulate during shooting and it assures really ergonomic handling. In fact, to begin with, the built-in automatic film advance feature itself needs some orientation. However, the overall Nikon "feel" is still quite apparent with the design of this camera.
Besides, the camera was coated with a tough rubber compound as the basic outer surface material, other than a prototype model that never has the chance to reach the market place, all F4 was using a standard rugged black matte finish which in a way, other than practical aspect, it also gives a strong, trusty professional look and feel. In many ways, you couldn't ask for more with a F4. It has great compatibility with older system accessories, it has a new finder system which provides full-information, virtually 100% coverage and high eyepoint with a conventional ADR readout display. It has multiple power sources to patch one of the greatest worry of conventional users of SLRs with the addition of a highly efficient drive system to ensure it has easily the fastest film advance rate at the time of its introduction. And in the areas of autofocus, Nikon also designed an AF system that makes the F4 ranked among the best in the business. The camera was also equipped with an awesome arrays of multiple-exposure control AE modes and three ways metering system which extends to the flash photography as well.
Below are a brief summary outlining various basic camera controls which corresponds with all the functional features provide in a Nikon F4.
SHUTTER SPEED DIAL: For Manual and Shutter-Priority Auto Exposure,, you can set any of 16 different shutter speeds from 4 sec. to 1/8800 sec. Intermediate shutter speeds can not be set. Three other settings - B, T and X - are possible. For P modes and A mode, the shutter operates virtually steplessly from 30 sec. to 1/8800 sec. B Setting. At the "Bulb" setting, the shutter remains open as long as the shutter release button remains depressed. This setting should be used only in the Manual Exposure mode. Set shutter speed dial to B. One characteristic of the shutter speed ring with the F4 is, the ring employs with a free-rotating design, you can turn the shutter speed settings 360 degrees. Other than the "T" (Time exposure) which is self locking and requires you to depress the center button while rotating the ring to free itself to the next setting of either "B" (Bulb) or "X" (sync) mode. The shutter speeds 1, 2 and 4 seconds are painted orange and the maximum permissible sync speed is in red to serve as a reminder. Overall, the shutter speed ring is positive and well illustrated for operating in manual shutter speed selection for both shutter priority AE and Manual mode. The three "X", "B" and "T" are special purpose setting, each gives different objective in shutter speed control.
T Setting: On "T," the shutter stays open until the shutter speed dial is rotated to another setting, making the setting ideal for really long time exposures. Exposure mode is automatically set to Manual. If exposure is longer than 32 sec. "T" will not cause battery drain regardless of how long the shutter remains open. If "T" exposure is less than 32 sec, to complete exposure, return mirror to viewing position and advance to next frame, rotate shutter speed dial to any other setting. If "T" exposure is 32 sec. or longer, to complete exposure - turn shutter speed dial to any other selling, lightly press shutter release button to return mirror to viewing position and advance to next frame.
X Setting: "X" setting provides a top flash sync speed of 1/250 sec. with Nikon speedlights. For assurance during flash shooting, set the shutter speed dial to 'X". To unlock, while pressing the lock release button, shift the shutter speed dial to another setting. Speedlight synchronization is also possible for dial-selected speeds from 1/250. and slower.
Update: A Limited Edition of the 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.
FILM ADVANCE MODES: The Nikon F4 has four automatic film advance modes. In S (for single-frame shooting), fully depressing the shutter release button takes one picture then automatically advances the film by one frame. In C (for continuous shooting), pictures are taken continuously as long as the shutter release button is depressed. Choose CH (Continuous high speed), CL (Continuous lower speed) or Cs (Continuous silent)**. The last setting is the Self Timer setting.
The table below shows film advance speed in each Continuous mode:
With High Speed Battery Pack MB-21 With Battery Pack MB-20 CH 5.7 frames per second 4.0 fps CL 3.4 fps* 3.3 fps* Cs 1.0 fps 0.8 fps
Framing rates are for Continuous Servo Autofocus, with AF Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3 - f/4.5 lense, new AA-type alkaline-manganese batteries, a shutter speed of 1/250 sec. or faster, at normal temperature. *Depends on brightness of available light. * Except when focus tracking function is activated.
The last setting on the film advance mode is the self timer.
Continuous framing rates may vary with the autofocus mode set to Single Servo because the shutter is released only when the subject is in focus. With the autofocus mode set to Continuous Servo, the shutter will fire when you press the shutter release button, regardless of focus status. Autofocus will operate in CL mode when required focus adjustment is minimal. However, if ' considerable focus adjustment time is necessary, there may not be sufficient time between frames for the required adjustment. For prolonged shooting at low temperatures, set the film advance mode to S or CL (except with autofocus mode at Continuous Servo). In these modes, the shutter charging motor and film advance motor are driven sequentially to save battery power.
** Continuous Silent is for times when conditions require a minimum of operating noise. Film advance operation noise in Cs mode is quieter than conventional lever-type film advance of professional cameras. The red coloured "L" signifies Lock and the shutter release button will not be able to activate the shutter but once you are free from "L", all remaining settings in the dial will trigger an exposure. As all available settings in the film advance modes are locked and will require you to depress a tiny release button to free from shifting from one mode to another. Although this is a precational measure but it requires the user to train to use both the index and middle finder to perform this task simultaneously (it is not that difficult and should be easy to master but neither it is the most comfortable solution..).
DEPTH-OF-FIELD PREVIEW BUTTON: Easily one of the most frequently used camera control in any Nikon SLR especially when engaging in macro photography and/or using aperture priority auto exposure or manual exposure control. When a lens with an automate diaphragm is used. the viewfinder image is viewed with the lens at maximum aperture, By depressing the depth-of-field preview button, you stop the lens down to the aperture set, enabling you to examine depth of field before shooting.
The viewfinder image normally darkens as the aperture gets smaller. Portions of the picture that appear in focus when the button is pressed are in the zone of sharpest locus.
- Depth of field can only be preview in the Aperture-Priority Auto (A) or Manual (M) exposure modes.
- During Preview. autofocus and Electronic Rangefinder operation are not possible.
- During Preview with lenses with meter coupler, attaining correct exposure is not possible because exposure must be determined by full-aperture metering.
METER COUPLING LEVER: Before mounting a non-Al Nikkor lense, be sure to push the meter coupling lever release button and lift the meter coupling lever to the "up" position. Then perform stop-down exposure metering.
Warning: You SHOULD NOT lift the lever at upward position if you are using any Ai-spec lenses (which includes AF-Nikkor lenses) as all modern Nikon bodies are employing with maximum aperture metering and if this is not being complied, erroneous exposure may result. Further, Stopped-down metering cannot be performed in SPOT metering mode.
MIRROR LOCKUP LEVER: A highly efficient, tungsten-alloy shutter balancer is incorporated in the shutter unit. The balancer operates during shutter operation to overcome vibration normally caused by shutter curtain movement in other cameras. When using super-telephoto lenses or doing photomicrography, it is, although not exactly a necessity but advisable to ensure using other means to reduce camera vibration to the absolute minimum lever for higher success rate in crystal sharp images. The F4 has also equipped with a Mirror-Lock Up feature simply for this purpose*.
To lock the reflex viewing mirror in the "up" position, push in the depth-of-field preview button and rotate the mirror lockup lever counterclockwise until it stops. (In this case, exposure meter cannot be used.). Thanks to a unique dual-curtain system, prior to the Nikon F5, for quite a while at its era, Nikon F4 used to be the only AF-SLR camera with vertical-travel focal-plane shutter that has a mirror-lockup capability. * Although it may not be relevant, but Mirror-Lock-Up does provide a way to allow a handful of old, specialized Nikkor lenses to be used with the Nikon F4. With the mirror locked up, you cannot operate the camera in any auto exposure and/or autofocus mode anymore (even if the viewfinder LCD may indicate information). Any indication of light by the LCD is a result of spurious light entering through the view finder eyepiece. However, you can make use of the camera's suggested metering and use it in MANUAL mode.
| Previous | NEXT | 1/2 More basic features on camera control on the Nikon F4
The Camera Body - Features | Reliability | Focusing | Metering | Exposure Control | Lense Compatibility | Interchangeable Prisms | Data Film Backs | Focusing Screens | Flash Photography | Other system accessories | Cases for Nikon F4 Series | Remote Control | Various Power Sources |
| Specification | Main Reference Map | Nikon F4 Variants
Instruction Manual: PDF (4.5M) - External Link
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Nikon F | Nikon F2 | Nikon F3 | Nikon F4 | Nikon F5 | Nikon F6 | Nikkormat / Nikomat | Nikon FM | Nikon FE/ FA | Nikon EM/FG/FG20 | Nikon Digital SLRs | Nikon - Other models
Nikon Auto Focus Nikkor lenses:- Main Index Page
Nikon Manual Focus Nikkor lenses:- Fisheye-Nikkor Lenses - Circular | Full Frame | Ultrawides Lenses - 13mm15mm18mm20mm | Wideangle Lenses - 24mm28mm35mm | Standard Lenses - 45mm 50mm 58mm | Telephoto Lenses - 85mm105mm135mm180mm & 200mm | Super-Telephoto Lenses - 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 800mm 1200mm |
Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm
MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm | 35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm | 100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm
Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E
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 cannot adjust aperture(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.
About this photographic site.
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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 (email@example.com) 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. Dedicated to KU Yeo, just to express our mutual regrets over the outcome of a recent corporate event. Made with an Apple IMac.