Collectable Classics: The Nikon F4

At last, I finally got my hands on a boxed and mint MB-23 battery pack for my F4. Finding anything for the F4 in mint condition these days takes time, but if you wait long enough you’ll find it.

The Nikon F4 was a 35mm autofocus (AF) single lens reflex (SLR) film camera, first introduced in 1988 as the next generation in Nikon’s line of F series professional cameras. With industrial design by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the F4 was the first professional Nikon to offer autofocus and is able to accept any of Nikon’s manual focus (MF) or AF lenses from 1959 to the present day, including the two F3AF lenses (in Autofocus mode). The F4 replaced the F3, which was a manual focus camera produced from 1980 to 2001. Nikon introduced its next flagship model, the F5, in 1996. All F4 models were discontinued soon after in May 1997.

Nikon F4e, with 16mm f2.8 Full Frame Fisheye

The F4 introduced many Nikon owners to autofocus (as well as focus tracking), and was the first professional Nikon to utilize a vertical-travel metal-blade shutter (with shutter balancer to minimize noise and camera bounce). As a fully electronic camera with motorized film transport (up to 5.7 frames per second), it required one of three available bottom-mounted battery packs to operate, using standard AA or rechargeable cells. For the first time on a Nikon SLR, two of those battery packs also offered an additional vertical shutter release button and grip for using the camera vertically.

Its controls were transitional between those of mechanical SLRs and future professional film and digital SLRs: the F4′s electronics, LCD viewfinder display, autofocus, programmed auto-exposure, and matrix meter looked to the future, but it also retained classic dedicated analog dials for shutter speed, lens aperture, metering pattern, and exposure compensation.

The F4 was the first Nikon F-series camera to lack a manual film-advance lever, though it offered both motor-driven and manual film rewinding. Like previous F-series cameras, the F4 featured a high degree of customization to specific tasks, with various remote controls, film backs, and viewfinders available. While it was a complex camera with over 1700 parts, the F4′s high-quality mechanical and electronic components, as well as weather sealing and tough construction, made for a reliable and long-lived professional SLR.

Nikon MF-23 Multi Control Back/ F4

The F4 will accept all autofocus lenses made for the F mount, as well as almost all manual focus F mount lenses excluding some very early fisheye lenses. The meter coupling cam can be moved out of the way for use with lenses manufactured prior to 1977 (non-AI lenses). The F4 is one of the few Nikon cameras offering full Matrix metering with AI manual focus lenses.

Nikon F4 Control Dials

Its lack of electronic aperture control limits the F4′s functionality with G type lenses, which do not have an aperture ring. With these lenses, exposure control is limited to program and shutter-priority modes. In addition, DX lenses are not designed to cover the full 35mm frame and will vignette when used with the F4 (or any other 35mm camera). The F4 also provides no support for Nikon’s later VR (Vibration Reduction) system; VR-equipped lenses will mount and function, but without image stabilization.

Nikon F4e

Eventually Nikon had three F4 models that were distinguished by which integrated battery pack was attached. All F4 bodies are interchangeable with all battery packs. Therefore none of the cameras includes a label for its particular model name—all use a simple “F4″ nameplate:

Text From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


About admin

John’s involvement with photography has lasted for more than a quarter of a century, although schooled in the use of film John embraced the digital age very early on. He describes himself as a discerning photographer who sees digital imaging as a tool rather than a box of tricks, a photographer whose images are linked by a natural instinct for subject arrangement and attention to detail. His approach to photography is spontaneous – seeking to recapture for the viewer the same mood and atmosphere that drew him to the subject in the first place.
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