I'm new to this forum and need help on buying another camera. I have a Rollei SL35E that has quit and the cost factor to repair if parts can be found is not a opition.Looking at the Nikon F4 and would like some first hand info on this camera. reliablty and is it easy to use. What to look for when conserting a used one?How can you tell the year that it was made? Thanks for any help with this. Harry
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Posted 20 December 2020 - 02:39 AM
Dating the F4 is easy, the serial numbers were released in batches of 5000 per month and the prototype was 2100000 on September 1 1988. This means that you can take 21 off from the beginning of the serial number, divide what's left by 5000 and get the number of months after the first one.
The F4 is actually three models of camera, depending on what battery setup is in use. The basic F4 doesn't have a vertical grip, takes 4 AA batteries and lacks the high frame rate of the others. The F4S has a slim vertical grip with 3 AA batteries vertically and 3 horizontally. The F4E has all 6 AA batteries horizontally and can take a stick-pack of rechargeables.
What to look out for:
The F4 is old enough that the LCD-s in the finder is nearing its end of life. If you can see any sign of any of the LCD-s bleeding, get another one. They are actually in the body, not up in the finder and difficult to replace.
If you try it out without a DX-coded film canister in the body, a red LED close to the rewind knob will flash and the camera will be locked up unless a film speed is set manually. This is not a fault, it is designed to work this way.
If the camera has been stored close to an ozone source, like an electric motor or similar, the rubber grips will have deteriorated and either become gooey or swollen so they don't quite fit. New grips are starting to get difficult to find.
They have often been heavily used, so listen to the mirror, shutter and film wind/rewind noise for anomalies.
The F4 is a reliable old beast, but one has to remember that it is old and some modern lens features aren't supported. For example: You need an aperture ring on the lens to use manual or aperture-priority exposure. VR won't work. AF-P lenses won't autofocus.
Posted 27 December 2020 - 07:49 AM
To my surprise the camera arrived on the 24th. Couldn't imagine that it got here so fast. Fedx was super fast. Now this thing is a beast as was told (getting use to it ) As I mention earlier it came with a 50mm and 80-200 both Nikkor AF-D lens and a SB 25 flash and can't find a lot on the internet on now to use it. Can someone tell me where to go for this information and is there a lens I should look for that would round out this set for now. And where might I get the use manual for the F4E? Oh as one might think I have had a gret time with camera on Christmass Day.
Posted 27 December 2020 - 03:24 PM
The manual can be found here. It doesn't specifically cover the F4E, but the only difference between the S and the E is how the batteries are inserted.
mir.com.my have lots of information on the F4. Nikon F4 Series SLR camera models - Main Index Page
mir.com .my has lots of information on the SB-25 too. Nikon Autofocus Flash Model: SB-25 TTL Speedlight
The lens that rounded out the trinity in the F4 days was at first the AF 35-70/2.8 and after 1992, the AF 35-70/2.8D. If you decide on one of these, try to get one with a serial number above 600001 as they have the later D chip and work better with 3D Matrix in later bodies. For the F4E, all three iterations are exactly the same.
The AF-S 28-70 D IF-ED is another superb lens on the F4 as it still has an aperture ring, even though it is an AF-S lens.