Back to the Future: NIKON F4S Film
My friend Brian Sturgess, who studies photography, bought somehow a Nikon F4S and I handled it a few times. It is a solid piece of equipment, loads of dedicated buttons and a removable viewfinder to be used like a medium forma camera. I was thinking at one stage, why would I want to go back to film if I have the Nikon D700? Then I start to browse on www.gumtree.com if there is one available and then I found one. I couldn’t believe the price at £100! I thought it might be broken or stolen… I went to London and met the guy, have a look at the F4. Then I realise it is actually the F4S and NOT the F4 and said YES, I’ll take it. I went to Apertureuk.com in London and asked the guy there what condition is the value of this model F4s. He said it is in pristine condition and should not get rid of it.
I asked if he has a manual for me so I can do some “homework” on the camera how to operate this tool and all he could do was to email me a link where I can download one. I found the basic settings and decide to complete the roll that was in there and made a note at what point I started to take images. Even my SB900 strobe works on this camera, I thought it might not.
When I got back t Gravesend, I went and showed to Brian and he showed me how to operate some buttons, like rewind the film and then I gave it a proper service myself. Clean every part that can and must be cleaned, like the mirror and focus screen and eye viewfinder.
I like the idea that the Data back on the camera can store loads of info for what you need. You even have alarm clock on it, but I doubt if I will use it anyway. You can use the burn data onto the negative like the date and time when you took the image. I might not use this function because it will be part of the image I don’t want. The camera has a solid grip and it feels very comfortable even when I fit my 35-135mm f/3.5-4.5 lens onto it. The 24mm and 50mm lens is well balanced on the camera and I know I will endure the pleasure of this combination.
When I saw there is a film in this camera, I decided to carry on using it where the previous owner stopped. I just use the same settings from my Nikon D700 and certain shots I used the Nikon SB 900 strobe. I used all the lenses I have and shoot indoors and outdoors to see what the effects will be. When I developed the film at Boots, I ordered prints on 5×7 because personal I don’t like sizes smaller than this. The images where quite amazing and I know I will stick to this camera for a very long time. The previous owner might have tried manual lenses and I saw that some of the images were blurred. I went on EBay and search for the waist level eye viewfinder and when I saw the prices they offered, I decided to wait a few more weeks when they might come down. I like to have the full set of accessories with the camera, but financially it might be too expensive. A good site to do reviews on this camera is at Ken Rockwell who does a dissected review of many types of cameras and he can be very critical on certain parts, even it makes my day when he made jokes about certain functions.
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