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F4 review


Active Member
Similar Products Used:

Nikon F, F2, F3, EM, N70, Asahi Pentax Spotmatic, Miranda Sensorex


As a lover of manual/mechanical cameras, I was seriously considering the FM3a as a backup to my three aging F2 bodies (I have been using one since 1971). However, I changed my mind when I discovered that the price of film cameras had dropped so low that I could purchase a used F4 body in excellent condition for a little over $300 compared to the price of $500 for a new FM3a. The strongest feature for me is that, like my F2, the F4 can handle every manual-focus, auto-focus, AI, pre-AI, and preset lens in my inventory. Even though some people complain about the size and weight of the F4, I was surprised when I compared the weight of the F4 body with its built-in motor drive and add-on battery pack to my F2 body with add-on motor drive and battery pack. Even though the F4 felt heavier, it was actually lighter by 12 ounces.


1. Well-built, heavy-duty, high-quality body
2. Seems to be durable and dependable
3. Woks well with my inventory of older Nikon lenses (from 18mm to 1000mm)
4. Provides good balance with heavy telephoto lenses
5. Works well with auto focus or manual focus lenses
6. Uses same motor drive cable connection for Quantum Radio Slave II as F2
7. Very quiet built-in motor drive
8. Reasonably priced (purchased on eBay for $325 in 2005)
9. Auto and manual exposure feature
10. Auto and manual focus feature
11. Electronic focusing aid
12. Exposure meter compensation feature
13. Spot, center-weighted, and matrix exposure meter options
14. Allows matrix, center-weighted, and spot metering with true AI lenses
15. Allows center-weighted and spot metering with AI converted lenses
16. Works in manual mode with pre-AI lenses
17. Works in manual mode with pre-set 28mm f/4 Perspective Control lens
18. Uses standard alkaline AA batteries
19. Has light to illuminate viewfinder information
20. Built-in diopter eyepiece correction
21. Built-in eyepiece shield
22. Mirror lock-up feature
23. Multiple exposure feature
24. Depth of field preview
25. Interchangeable view screens
26. Interchangeable viewfinder
27. Viewfinder offers 100% coverage
28. Manual rewind allows leaving the film leader out of the cassette
29. PC electronic flash connection
30. Uses same motor drive cable release as F2
31. 1/250 second top flash sync shutter speed
32. Quiet operation when compared to my motorized F2
33. Rail system for interchangeable viewfinder is more secure than F2 latch system
34. Accurate focusing is easy with electronic focusing aid
35. User interface not far removed from F2
36. No buttons located at the right thumb position


1. Unable to vary the amount of time viewfinder turns itself off due to inactivity
2. While slightly pressing shutter release button to activate built-in light meter, it is too easy to accidentally press shutter release too hard and waste a shot.
3. Large size and heavy weight (however, smaller and lighter than F2 with motor)
4. Not an inconspicuous camera
5. Auto focus is too slow for fast action (but I do not shoot a lot of fast action)
6. Camera will not operate without battery power
7. Standard cable shutter release connects to camera in an unusual location
8. Unable to change viewfinder shutter speed increments from 1/2 stop increments to 1/3 stop increments or to full stop increments
9. Unable to change f/stop increments from 1/2 stop increments to 1/3 stop increments or to full stop increments.
10. No provision to store camera with an un-cocked shutter
11. Cannot use bulk film loaded in Nikon F2 AM-1 film cassettes
12. Cannot use F2 view screens
13. Unlike my F2, I am unable to reduce the size and weight of the camera by removing the motor drive and battery pack
14. Does not have the classic motor drive sound of my F2
15. With my right thumb, I can sometimes feel the vibrations of the film moving while holding the camera in my right hand
16. Difficult to manually focus using standard B screen (had to replace with a screen that had a split-image focusing aid)
17. Center of standard B screen darkens when shooting macrophotography
18. Inability to change size of auto focus area
19. Inability to change the location of the auto focus area
20. Continuous Silent Speed (CS) setting is not silent. It would be more accurate if it were labeled 'Continuous Slow Speed' because all it really does is lower the firing rate to 1 frame per second