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Lomopedia: Nikon F4

Introduced in the late 1980s, Nikon F4 was the third improvement of the original Nikon F from 1959. Read on to find out more about this outstanding professional SLR camera that remains a favorite of many photographers decades after its release.

The Nikon F4 is a 35mm autofocus SLR camera that was launched in 1988 to replace the F3, and was Nikon’s fourth generation model in its line of professional cameras. It was the first professional Nikon camera to have autofocus, and first in the Nikon F-series to forgo a manual film advance lever (although it also allows manual film rewinding). This fully electronic camera has a motorized film transport by one of the bottom-mounted battery packs using standard AA or rechargeable cells. These battery packs also made vertical use of the camera easier by housing an additional vertical shutter release button and grip.

The F4 was a mix of old and new, serving as a transition from the mechanical SLRs to the more advanced and professional level film and digital SLR cameras. While sporting electronic components such as an LCD viewfinder display, programmed auto-exposure, and matrix meter, the F4 also retained analog dials for shutter speed, lens aperture, metering pattern, and exposure compensation. It also accommodates any manual focus (MF) or autofocus (AF) Nikon lenses from 1959 to the present, including two F3AF lenses (in Autofocus mode)

Decades after it was launched, the F4 remains a favorite of many professional and intermediate photographers, lauded for its ergonomics, high degree of customization, extensive accessory line, lens compatibility, weather sealing, and tough construction.

Photo via dapagroup.com

Technical Specifications:

  • Type of camera: Integral-motor 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) camera
  • Picture format: 24mm x 36mm (standard 35mm film format)
  • Lens mount: Nikon F mount Lenses usable: AF Nikkor lenses and Nikon MF F-mount lenses
  • Focus modes: Manual focus with electronic rangefinder and Autofocus
  • Autofocus: Autofocus detection system: TTL phase detection system using Nikon advanced AM200 autofocus module
  • Autofocus detection range: Approx. EV minus 1 to EV 18 at ISO 100 (under Nikon inspection conditions)
  • Autofocus actuation method: Single Servo or Continuous Servo
  • Autofocus lock: Possible by lightly pressing shutter release button in Single Servo AF mode or by using AF-L button; simultaneous use with AE-L button possible
  • Electronic rangefinder: Available in Manual focus mode with AF Nikkor lenses, Ai-type Nikkor lenses including Ai-modified Nikkor lenses and non-Ai-type Nikkor lenses with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster
  • Exposure metering: Matrix Metering (with Multi-Meter Finder DP-20); Center-Weighted Metering (with Multi-Meter Finder DP-20 or AE Action Finder DA-20); Spot Metering (with any finder)
  • Exposure meter switch: Activated by lightly pressing shutter release button; stays on for approx. 16 sec. after lifting finger from button
  • Metering range: EV 0 to EV 21 at ISO 100 with f/1.4 lens; EV 2 to EV 21 with Spot Metering
  • Exposure control: Manual (M), and Programmed (PH, P), Shutter-Priority (S) and Aperture Priority (A) Auto Exposure
  • Auto exposure lock: Available by pressing AE-L button while meter is on
  • Exposure compensation: Possible using exposure compensation dial within ±2 EV range in 1/3 EV steps
  • Multiple exposure: Via lever
  • Depth-of-field preview button: Provides visual verification of depth of field; can be previewed in Manual (M) or Aperture Priority (A) mode; coaxial with mirror lockup lever
  • Reflex mirror: Automatic instant-return type with lockup facility
  • Shutter: Electro-magnetically controlled vertical-travel focal plane shutter; shutter balancer incorporated
  • Shutter release: Electromagnetic shutter by magnet trigger
  • Shutter speeds: Lithium niobate oscillator-controlled; controlled from 1/8800 to 30 sec. steplessly in PH, P or A mode; set from 1/8800 to 4 sec. in one EV steps in M or S mode; B, T and X (1/250 sec.)
  • Viewfinder: Nikon Multi-Meter Finder DP-20 provided as standard; fixed eyelevel pentaprism, High-Eyepoint type; 0.7X magnification with 50mm lens set at infinity; approx. 100% frame coverage; metering system selector, diopter adjustment knob, accessory shoe, compensation dial for focusing screens and eyepiece shutter lever provided; interchangeable with Nikon AE Action Finder DA-20, Nikon 6X High-Magnification Finder DW-21 and Nikon Waist-Level Finder DW-20
  • Viewfinder information: By LCD – exposure compensation value, frame counter (additive type), metering system in use, shutter speed, aperture, exposure mode, electronic analog display, AE Lock indicator; by ADR window – lens aperture; by LED display – focus indicators, exposure compensation mark and flash ready-light. Illuminator switch provided for dim-light viewing
  • Eyepoint: Approx. 22mm
  • Focusing screen: Nikon advanced B-type BriteView screen with central focus brackets for autofocus operation; interchangeable with 12 optional screens
  • Film speed range: ISO 25 to 5000 for DX-coded film; ISO 6 to 6400 in 1/3 EV steps for manual setting Film speed setting:* At DX position, automatically set to ISO speed of DX-coded film used; manual override possible
  • Film loading: Film automatically advances to first frame when shutter release button is depressed once
  • Film advance: In S (single frame) shooting mode, film automatically advances one frame when shutter is released; in CH (Continuous high speed), CL (Continuous low speed) or Cs (Continuous silent) shooting mode, shots are taken as long as shutter release button is depressed; shooting speed is approx. 5.7 fps (CH), 3.4 fps (CL) or 1.0 fps (Cs) – for Continuous Servo Autofocus, test done with an AF Zoom-Nikkor 35-80mm f/4-5.6D lense, new six AA-type alkaline batteries, shutter speed of 1/250 sec. or faster, at normal temperature.
  • Frame counter: Two additive types provided – on top of camera and inside viewfinder (LCD)
  • Film rewind: Choice of automatic or manual; automatically rewinds when film rewind levers (R1) and (R2) are used; takes approx. 8 sec. per 36-exposure roll (with six AA-type batteries); (with six AA-type batteries); stops automatically when film is rewound; manual rewind when R1 lever is used
    Self-timer: Electronically controlled 10 sec. exposure delay; blinking LED indicates self timer operation; cancelable
  • Camera back: Hinged back; interchangeable with Nikon Data Back MF-22, Multi-Control Back MF-23 or 250-Exp.
  • Accessory shoe: Standard ISO-type hotshoe contact; ready light contact, TTL flash contact, monitor contact
  • Flash synchronization: 1/60 to 1/250 sec. in PH, P or A mode; in M or S mode, shutter fires at speed set and when set from 1/250 to 1/8800 sec., shutter is automatically set to 1/250 sec.; down to 30 sec. shutter is available by using SB-24, SB-26 or other equivalent Nikon speedlights etc. in rear curtain sync in PH, P or A mode Flash ready-light: Viewfinder LED lights up when Nikon dedicated Speedlight is ready to fire; blinks to warn of poor camera/ Speedlight connection or insufficient light for correct exposure
  • Autofocus flash photography: Possible with Nikon Autofocus Speedlights SB-24, SB-25, SB-26, SB-27, SB-28, SB-23, SB-22 or SB-20
  • Checking battery power: Battery power is sufficient if viewfinder LCD appears when shutter release button is lightly pressed; LCD remains on for approx. 16 sec. after finger is removed from button; battery power insufficient if LCD turns off immediately after finger is removed from shutter release button; if no data appears and shutter does not operate, batteries are exhausted or improperly loaded
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): With Multi-Power High Speed Battery Pack MB-23: 169mm x 157mm x 77mm (6.7 × 6.2 × 3.0 in.), with High Speed Battery Pack MB-21: 169mm x 139mm x 77mm (6.7 × 5.5 × 3.0 in.), with Battery Pack MB-20: 169mm x 118mm x 77mm (6.7 × 4.7 × 3.0 in.)
  • Weight (body only): With Multi Power High Speed Battery Pack MB-23: approx. 1,400g (49.4 oz.), with High Speed Battery Pack MB-21: approx. 1,280g (45.1 oz.), with Battery Pack MB-20: approx. 1,090g (38.4 oz.)

All information for this article were sourced from Camerapedia, Wikipedia, and mir.com.my, and Nikon USA.

written by plasticpopsicle

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