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One of the most interesting aspect in the design of Nikon F4 is its ability to adapt to various power sources. Unlike any of the previous Nikon F3 which essentially being the first Nikon professional F-class model to go all-electronic. The tiny button cell powered Nikon is easily regarded one of the most power efficient Nikon professional F ever, even with its motor drive powered design (one of Nikon F3's most appealing design is, once it is mounted with its dedicated super-power-efficient Nikon MD-4 motor drive, all power will be drawn from the drive) and it even ensure the camera still operational as it has a back-up mechanical shutter speed in case all its power fails to function and/or depleted.

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A controversial issue relating to the Nikon F4's basic configuration was Nikon's decision to remove the backup mechanical shutter speed from its impressive feature lists. This has made Nikon F4 entirely depends on battery to operate - such very un-Nikon's approach was something that has made many professional users and Nikon faithful felt a little uncomfortable over such 'drastic' decision. Especially at the time of its introduction, other than a Nikon FM2(n), virtually entire Nikon line of SLR models were electronic cameras.

<<< ---- Image from my copyright-free image collection. eofooTM.gif Malaysian Internet Resources
Realistically, to support the enormous computing power requires more than just a button cell as used by the F3. Besides, there are more operational tasks to handle as the Nikon F4 has a built-in film transport for automatic film advance and rewinding as well as complexity in the Matrix Metering - ALL take battery power to function ! However, among all the power-eating elements, the real demanding task is actually the decision to adopt a camera driven autofocus concept as opposed to camera/lens driven system used in the prototype Nikon F3AF back in 1983/4. There are four coreless motors built into the Nikon F4 camera and all sucks powers even though they are designed to be power efficient. So, the use of multiple power cells for the Nikon is inevitable and become very logical. Designed as a professional camera, probably everyone would expect a basic Nikon F4 body should be small enough to perform like a professional class SLR one would expect it to be but I think the real challenge was, it is something like merging a "MD-5" inside the Nikon F4. The highly acclaimed MD-4 for the F3 takes 8 penlight batteries, the Nikon 4 halved that number down to just four cells to power all it needs to enable it to function which eventually boils down to one fact - how many film rolls can it take ? Not many...

So, using similar concept of attaching a additional power support, the modular system concept is back - Nikon designed a series a power sources to ensure the Nikon F4 will never has its user worrying it may be lying dead - The bare basic Nikon F4 camera consists of a Battery Pack MB-20 Powered by four AA-type alkaline batteries, it also serves as the F4's grip.

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Changing battery with the F4 is a fast and quick process. There is battery pack removal switch at the bottom and its design is so easy that you can actually change it with one hand. One of the advantage offers in the F4 is the choice of battery source. AA-type alkaline batteries are readily available every where. Although early indication by Nikon that AA size Lithium cells are not advisable to use with F4 but many users have actually been happy using it without any significant disastrously results. However, as a matter of guideline, I would not like to challenge such official user's guidelines issued and neither I intend to misled nor encourage such unauthorized usage. The bursting rate in continuous AF servo mode for Nikon F4 (with MB-20) is slower than using other combination(s) of Power Packs such as MB-21, MB-22 and MB-23. See bottom of this page for comparison.

NikonF4GCCq.jpg MB20insdie.jpg F4nobbary2.jpg
NOTE: As most problems from electronic cameras are usually battery related. If your camera is inoperative (in particularly inactive for a long period of time), check the battery contacts inside the power pack as well as the camera sections for corrosive contacts. Use eraser to scrub off any possible deposits and see if it works. ALWAYS remove the batteries if you are not going to use the camera for a long period of time.
Credit: Image at the top left hand side courtesy of Mr. Georges C. Couchepin® <sunshine@mycable.ch> from Switzerland. He also operates a popular Ebay Store selling many used photo equipment. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

One page summary for installation of a MB-20 onto the Nikon F4, scanned from Manual (144k Jpeg)

Battery current consumption (using battery pack MB-20 with Multi-photomic finder DP-20 at room temperature (20 degrees C). Also take note: Batteries with a "+" terminal exceeding 5.5mm in diameter
CANNOT be used.

NOTE: When the battery pack MB-20 (AA-type battery x 4) is mounted, the battery can be checked by opeating the shutter pre-release timer located on the body. 1. Battery can be used when the shutter pre-release timer operates for 16 seconds. 2. If the timer does not respond when the shutter pre-release is operated, the battery is exhausted. 3. The battery can not be used when indicators do not light up and shutter release is locked. One of the main reason why Nikon resists users to use other batteries is, as it is very difficult to carry out a battery check when NiCd or Lithium batttery pack are used with the MB-20, please be reminded that both will give an incorrect display.

1. Less than 5 powersymbolB.gif when power switch is off.
2. Approx. 10 powersymbolB.gif when power switch is on (shutter pre-release switch is off). (Approx. 100 powersymbolB.gif when R
2 lever is on.)
3. Approx. 180 when illuminator is off while shutter pre-release timer is on; Approx. 220powersymbolA.gif when illuminator is on while shutter pre-release timer is on. See
Battery Consumption at below.

High Speed Battery Pack MB-21 which makes a Nikon F4s

The more common combination for a Nikon F4 is using it with a High Speed Battery Pack MB-21 which consists of a base with battery holder and a grip unit, each of which contains three AA-type alkaline or NiCd batteries. Shutter release button with lock function is provided at the bottom of the grip - convenient when shooting with the camera held vertically. Also included are battery checker LEDs and a remote terminal. In additional to that, there is a Nikon External Power Regulator MB-22, powered by an external constant-current power supply, consists of a grip, in common with the MB-21, and a main unit. The External Power Cord MC-11 plugs into the external power terminal of the MB-22.


An interesting note in relation to
changes of these Power Packs with a basic Nikon F4 camera body will also change the respective model name for the F4: i.e. A high speed power pack equipped Nikon F4 is termed as a Nikon F4s, a Multi-Power Pack MB-23 mounted camera is referred as Nikon F4e. However, the less popular MB-22 is essentially a power regulator and there is specific designation if such combination is used.

<<< --- Credit: Images courtesy from all the nice folks at Midwest Photo Exchange (MPX) ® <mpx@mpex.com>. "MPX" also operates a popular Ebay Store. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

f4mb21erear.jpg verticalrelease.jpg
One important aspect of the MB-21 is a secondary shutter release button provided to facilitate vertical format shooting -as finally, Nikon listens ...this feature was missed out on the Nikon F3/MD-4 combination.
Credit: Image at top left courtesy of Mr. Min Kim ® <min_kim77@hotmail.com> Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer. Image at the top was scanned from a 1994's Nikon Sales Brochure

Specification for High Speed Battery Pack MB-21

Usable Nikon camera(s): Nikon F4 Series, a standard equipment for F4s
Power source: Six AA alkaline-manganese batteries or Ni-Cd batteries (Battery selector SW provided)

Remote terminal: Located at the front side. Remote cord MC-12A, Connecting cord MC-17, Terminal shutter MR-3 and other older type cords are usable.
Vertical shot: Shutter release button is provided at the bottom of grip. (Power SW and Prerelease SW also available.)

Battery checker: Battery checker LED's provided

* Alkaline-manganese batteries: When push button is pushed - LED 1&2 light up - Battery power sufficient; Only LED2 lights up - Battery power insufficient, but batteries can be used when one LED indicator lights up, even though the film does not advance at regular high film advance rates.

**Ni-Cd batteries: When push button is pushed - LED2 light up - Battery power sufficient; LED2 not light up - Battery power insufficient. In both power sources used, it is recommended to change the battery when no LED indicator lights up, even if the shutter release operation is not locked.

Electric terminals on grip: Five terminals
a. Power terminal positive.gif
b. Power terminal negative.gif
c. Pre-release signal
d. Release signal
e. Battery type distinction

Tripod screw: Located at the same position as that on camera body (10mm to the film advance side and 10.5mm to the front side from the center)
Mounting on body (F4): Decide the position with two pins (on MB-21B) and fix MB-21 using tripod screw.

Battery Checker: Battery checker LED's provided
* alkaline-manganese Batteries: When push button is pushed - LED 1&2 light up - Battery power sufficient; Only LED2 lights up - Battery power insufficient. *Ni-Cd Batteries: When push button is pushed - LED2 light up - Battery power sufficient; LED2 not light up - Battery power insufficient
Accessories: AA Battery Holder MS-21. Replacement battery holder for MB-21. Holds 3 AA batteries. A common accessory and I think it is good to include the Nikon Product Number: 4637 NAS. The 6 x AA cells MS-23 Battery Holder is for the MB-23 (see page 3), don't get confuse when you order - they are NOT compatible.

Dimensions: Approx. 168.5mm x 138.5mm x 76.5mm (with F4 camera body)
Weight (without batteries): Approx. 260g

Shooting Rate:

Shooting Mode

Using High Speed Battery Pack MB-21/22/23 with Nikon F4

Battery Pack MB-20 (Nikon F4)


5.7 Frames per second

4.0 fps


3.4 Frames per second

3.3 fps


1.0 Frame per second

0.8 fps

Note: * Performance is based on operating at Continuous Servo autofocus, with an 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 and above, operating at room temperature. ** Depends on brightness of available light. Also please note Continuous framing rates may vary with the autofocus mode set

NOTE: Just for reference, operating the camera in Continuous shooting time at bulb exposure is as follows (using new alkaline battery at room temperature): 1. 4 hours when MB-20 battery pack (AA-type penlight battery x 4) is used. 2. 6 hours when MB-21 battery pack (AA-type penlight battery x 6) is used. 3. 3 hours when NiCd battery (AA penlight battery x 6) is used.

| New Upload |
Instructions how to install and remove batteries on MB-21 (Nikon F4s)
Instructions how to install and remove batteries on MB-23 (Nikon F4E)
(content will be displayed in a new browser window)

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Relative: Instruction Manual for MB-21 and MB-23 Prisms for Nikon F Series | Finders Group for Nikon F2 Series | Viewfinders for Nikon F3 Series | Nikon F3AF's DX-1 AF finder

The Camera Body - Features | Reliability | Focusing | Metering | Exposure Control | Lense Compatibility | Various Power Sources | Interchangeable Prisms | Data Film Backs | Focusing Screens | Flash Photography | Other system accessories | Cases for Nikon F4 Series | Remote Control |

| Specification | Main Reference Map | Nikon F4 Variants
Instruction Manual: PDF (4.5M) - External Link

| BACK | to Main Index Page Nikon F4 Series SLR camera Models

| Message Board | for Nikon F4 Series SLR model(s)
| Message Board | for your Nikon Optics in a shared environment
| Message Board | Specifically for Dispose or Looking for Nikon/Nikkor Photographic Equipment

| Back | to Pictorial History of Nikon SLR / rangefinders / Nikonos / digital cameras.

weblibrary.gif   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
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 |

Nikkor Link.jpg

Index Page
  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.

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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 (pkared@ameritech.net) 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.