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Replace my CLE with a Nikon F4 or F6?
Old 07-13-2018   #1
Dante_Stella
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Replace my CLE with a Nikon F4 or F6?

Ok, so this may be the mother of all bad ideas, but when I was assembling a cheapo set for my 8-year-old to practice with (a $25 N2020 and 50mm), it occurred to me that 1980s AF is not really that bad compared to using a rangefinder. In fact, it's slightly faster.

Then I got to, hey, F4s are really cheap. And not so huge with the MB-20. And then action finder...

But then, I thought hey, I have this CLE and 40 that I just don't use (I like digital Ms better); should I replace the teeny Minolta with an F6? Because, you know, final 35mm camera.

But seriously, my memory is fuzzy on the F4 (it's probably been 10 years since I've owned one) and nonexistent on the F6. How bad/good are these as cameras with a basic 50 or 35-105 IF?

Dante
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Old 07-13-2018   #2
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I don't think you need extra cash, so I say keep the CLE in the closet.
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Old 07-13-2018   #3
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...i own the CLE, F4 and F6.

I bought the F6 new 4 month ago. Near perfect camera! The CLE and and the F4 are nice, but not to compare.

The F6 seduces me to forget my Leica Ms and Rs!

But it's not easy to find the right lenses. Just bought an Zeiss ZF 50 (classical) and i think, that's it.

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Old 07-13-2018   #4
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I personally think the F4 is the best autofocus SLR ever made. It is incredibly rugged and was the first level backup that many combat camera shooters in the US military took into Afghanistan when we began our long protracted field trip to SW Asia. The second backups were personally owned Nikon F2s and Canon F1s. Anyway, you're not being dropped into the high desert of Afghanistan from a C-130 so you don't have to worry about that part but having kids can be just as strenuous as combat for cameras. The F4 can chew it up and spit it right back out as perfect photos. With the ability to use every lens Nikon has ever made with some functionality, the F4 has no equal. I never had any trouble with the autofocus and it was always perfect after I dialed in the proper diopter. That AF is remarkably sensitive under low light. It could focus my 180/2.8 AF ED better than I could in very low light.
I'm not a fan of the F6 because I like real dials, not wheels. That's just me but if the UI works for you, the F6 is an amazing camera as well.

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amazing
Old 07-13-2018   #5
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amazing

F6: amazing film handling, haptics and user interface. Useful data imprints between the frames. Works with Nikon's CLS or the adaptations by Profoto, for example. I recommend the 50 mm f//1.2 Nikkor with it!
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Old 07-13-2018   #6
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the F4 would allow you to buy an almost lifetime amount of film for him/her included over buying the F6
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Old 07-13-2018   #7
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The F4 also worked with all Niikkor manual lenses in all metering modes. Only camera to do so. However -it is a BRICK. I liked the F3 and / or F100 better.
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Old 07-13-2018   #8
samuelphoto
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Get an Olympus OM-2 with a 50mm lens for no more than $150. I can't imagine an 8 year old hauling around a F4!
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Old 07-13-2018   #9
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Big fan of the F4 here. I'll take mine too the grave, but they'll need to reinforce the bottom of the coffin with steel to hold the extra weight.

Seriously, the F4 is fantastic, pure testosterone...but it weighs like 6 CLEs and takes just about as much space. That would be a huge consideration for me in deciding between the two platforms.
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Old 07-13-2018   #10
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I have the CLE, an F6, bunch of other stuff...
#1. There is a dood selling a new in box F80 on photrio. If you are just using AF lenses, get that. $80 shipped.
#2. I bought an F4 after I already owned the F6. I found it slippery as all heck to hold due to its smooth surfaces w/ very few grippy bits. This made it kinda tiring after a while as you tend to grip it harder than with a modern camera (the F6) that is better designed.
#3. But the F4 has dials! And I love that. I wish the F6 has dials.
#4 The F4 takes AA batteries. Awesome. The F6 is Cr2 which are hard to get and do not last long. And are expensive.
#5. The F6 has the best MF screen out of any AF SLR ever made.
#6 The AF module on my mint, never dinged/dropped/abused F6 failed and it began to severely front focus. Mine had to be a one off, no? No... a couple of other members on this site chimed in that their did this too. So there's that. Cool thing is that Nikon USA fixed it ($250-ish if I remember) and now it is fine.
#7 3d Colour matrix metering in the F6 is 100% BS. It heavily underexposes in back lit situations, just like any old avg pattern. Treat it like an avg pattern then you'll be fine.
#8 Menu system in the F6 is just awful. Because it is from the dawn of that. F4 waaay better cuz it doesnt have one. It has dials!
#9 The F6 is still a very very nice camera. But if you like dials, just find an F4 that does not have bleeding LCDs.
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Old 07-13-2018   #11
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I would go for an n8008s or a n90s (s is for spot metering) and hang an inexpensive 28-105 AF zoom on it. That combo is a LOT smaller and lighter than an F4, and costs peanuts. The 28-105 is a small gem of a zoom w/ a useful range. I use an n8008s w/ manual focus lenses because the viewfinder is so big and bright. Has a focus conformation light in there too, and you can change the focus screens out in about 20 seconds.

Either of these cameras will do 98% of what an f4 will do, and chances are you will never need that other 2%.
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Old 07-13-2018   #12
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CLE is a classic. Sell it if you dont use it and use the money towards something you will use. Refine.
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Old 07-13-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
I would go for an n8008s or a n90s (s is for spot metering) and hang an inexpensive 28-105 AF zoom on it. That combo is a LOT smaller and lighter than an F4, and costs peanuts. The 28-105 is a small gem of a zoom w/ a useful range. I use an n8008s w/ manual focus lenses because the viewfinder is so big and bright. Has a focus conformation light in there too, and you can change the focus screens out in about 20 seconds.

Either of these cameras will do 98% of what an f4 will do, and chances are you will never need that other 2%.
I dunno. I had that 28-105 and thought it was seriously weak sauce so sold it on. The problem with the Nx and Fx series cameras are that they get sticky. Up to and including the F100. Also not sure how many of these had the pathetic plastic film door latches that often snap off. I know the F100 had that, the F80/N80, not sure if the n8008 etc had them.
Stepping up to a single #F series ensured the pro quality build where nothing was made to a lower spec.
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Old 07-13-2018   #14
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FYI if you're not using the CLE, sell it on while it is still working. Mine is still waiting repairs - I put it away into my dry box after using it (batteries out), a few months later I went to use it again and the electrics had gone on the fritz.
Age does not play well with these cameras.
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Old 07-13-2018   #15
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I do not own the Minolta CLE with a 40mm lens.

However, I do own and use the Contax G1 with 45mm lens.

Before I would give my 8-year old a Minolta CLE with 40mm lens or my Contax with 45mm lens or my Nikon F4, I would first sacrifice my Nikon EM or my Nikon 2000 with 50mm f/1.8 Series E lens.
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Old 07-14-2018   #16
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that's what i was thinking. replace the cle with a contax g1 and a 45/2 planar.

i just got a canon eos 600 (aka 630) for $20 on the auction site, and it seems like a nice camera. i'll have more to say after i get my 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 back from steve swearingen. a 50mm macro is on its way, too. i might get a 50/1.8 STM, or maybe i'll cross my fingers and hope canon announces a 50/1.4 IS at photokina. it'll be fun shooting a brand new lens on one of the oldest AF slrs.
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Old 07-14-2018   #17
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I owned an F6 for a while.
I was always thinking it could have been so much better, for instance the light meter does not react instantly to light changes but takes about half a second.
Low light capabilities of the meter are a bit soso, the F90x (N90x) has an extra stop over the F6.

As Huss said above, matrix metering is useless.

Huge as hell, I hold my FM2n the same way I hold a Leica. This cannot be done with the F6, I never knew where to put my left hand.

I can't imagine the F4 would be a lot better in those departments but at least it won't cost an arm and a leg.
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Old 07-14-2018   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samuelphoto View Post
Get an Olympus OM-2 with a 50mm lens for no more than $150. I can't imagine an 8 year old hauling around a F4!
My first thought was that this would be a good plan, I love my OM1/2. But on reflection, perhaps not. It's very likely that an 8 year old would at some point drop his/her camera and I don't think an OM body would survive a drop onto a concrete floor. But drop an F4 and I would be worried about the concrete remaining unbroken!
But having said that, how long wouls an 8 year old be willing to haul around the brick of an F4?
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Old 07-14-2018   #19
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I don't think either the proposed F4, or F6, or the existing CLE is for the eight year old - he's got an N2020.

I agree about the 1980's AF cameras - better than one might expect, and just at that lovely cusp where there was AE and AF, but proper controls and no menus. I still use a Pentax SF1 (and bought a couple of spares for $25) as it just works really well ergonomically for me. The lenses are probably better than Nikon's too, but I'm not trying to start an argument.

The F6 has the advantage of not being thirty years old, and it's AF is very fast compared to 80's cameras. I have been happy with the matrix metering. It's big and heavy, but is well designed and comfortable to hold. The lenses are so big, though; I almost wonder if their designers were told that small size was undesirable as their customers might be more impressed with big lenses? I like using all my cameras, from half-frame up to 10x8, but if I'm honest the F6 is the one that gets out of the way and lets me concentrate to the best of my scant ability on the picture.
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Old 07-14-2018   #20
p.giannakis
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I am preparing a video for you. AF speed of the 4 Nikon's I have (F80, F90x, F4s and F5).
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Old 07-14-2018   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
Ok, so this may be the mother of all bad ideas, but when I was assembling a cheapo set for my 8-year-old to practice with (a $25 N2020 and 50mm), it occurred to me that 1980s AF is not really that bad compared to using a rangefinder. In fact, it's slightly faster.

Then I got to, hey, F4s are really cheap. And not so huge with the MB-20. And then action finder...

But then, I thought hey, I have this CLE and 40 that I just don't use (I like digital Ms better); should I replace the teeny Minolta with an F6? Because, you know, final 35mm camera.

But seriously, my memory is fuzzy on the F4 (it's probably been 10 years since I've owned one) and nonexistent on the F6. How bad/good are these as cameras with a basic 50 or 35-105 IF?

Dante
Of those choices, unless you need the pro features of the F4 or F6,
I would buy one FM2 and one FE-2
both are much smaller and CLE like
and use the extra $ to buy more classic cameras
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Old 07-14-2018   #22
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Two different animals really.
Having used a N2020 and N8008s, personally I find that genre of SLR loud and slow. I'll keep my F3 personally.

I've never used the F4 but from what I hear/read it is a great camera. For what it sounds like you are looking for, I'd take a F4 and a LOT of film over the F6 personally.
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Old 07-14-2018   #23
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Ok, here it is. Having used those cameras for years doing street photography i have reached these conclusions.


With the 50mm lens the F4s is as good as the F90x. AF-wise, i prefer the F4 over the F80 any time. The F90x feels slightly quicker because of the newer electronics - there is no time lag between pressing the button and start rotating the lens.

With the 28-70 lens, the F4 is much faster than the F80 and as quick as (or quicker than) the F90x. Of course the F5 is quicker than all of them.


Here is the video: https://youtu.be/nQM6bTDH-o4
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Old 07-14-2018   #24
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Quote:
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With the 28-70 lens, the F4 is much faster than the F80 and as quick as (or quicker than) the F90x.
Thanks!

This is good to know. I have not yet tried my 28-70 on the F4 for street.
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Old 07-14-2018   #25
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The F4 also worked with all Niikkor manual lenses in all metering modes. Only camera to do so. However -it is a BRICK. I liked the F3 and / or F100 better.
Actually, the Nikon F6 works with all AI lenses with full matrix metering in all metering modes but shutter priority mode (don't think the F4 works in shutter priority mode either with manual lenses as there is no way for the camera to automatically change the aperture). You also can have the F6 modified by Nikon to accept non-AI lenses too!

Overall, the F6 is plainly the way to go if you want the ultimate 35 mm film camera (I have 2).
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Old 07-14-2018   #26
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I recently bought a Nikon F4 for use with my manual focus Nikkor lenses.

By comparison the F100 is relatively rather compact.
Bought used today it is a lot of camera for the money.

Chris
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Old 07-14-2018   #27
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The Nikon f4 is a very heavy camera with the motor drive which is the reason I seldom use it.
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Old 07-14-2018   #28
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Actually, the Nikon F6 works with all AI lenses with full matrix metering in all metering modes but shutter priority mode (don't think the F4 works in shutter priority mode either with manual lenses as there is no way for the camera to automatically change the aperture). You also can have the F6 modified by Nikon to accept non-AI lenses too!

Overall, the F6 is plainly the way to go if you want the ultimate 35 mm film camera (I have 2).
It works with Ai/s lenses in shutter priority mode too. You have to program the custom lens selection, then pick the appropriate one for the lens.

I would not call it the ultimate 35mm film camera. I would call it the final Nikon film camera. I actually prefer the feel and handling of my F3p w/ MD4 motordrive over my F6.
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Old 07-14-2018   #29
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First, who is going to use the F4/F6? And who is to use the N2020?

Second, for a really good AF body, I like the F100. Also dirt cheap.

And, as our bartender suggested, if you don't need AF, then the compact Nikons are great. When they came out, I stopped using my F2 entirely.
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Old 07-14-2018   #30
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I found the f4 with a nifty fifty nikkor 1.4 af still makes for a really great camera in this day and age. Heavy to walk around with though depending on what power options/packs you have it configured with. Recently found not one but TWO brand new F6's for sale at a local dealer here in Bangkok and we rarely see them here new in boxes (not old stock NOS). I almost wish I hadn't stumbled over them as I am quite tempted by the idea also, would be a great time to grab them whilst they are still out there new.
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Old 07-14-2018   #31
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The F4 will absolutely work in all M, A, S, P modes with Ai and AiS lenses. It won't give you matrix metering with Ai lenses so it defaults back to centerweighted, just like the FA does. If the FA does it, the F4 does it faster.

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Old 07-14-2018   #32
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It's weird that we could carry on this discussion at all. If you just want a F4 or F6 we could certainly compare their merits, but "replacing" a CLE with these 2 lbs SLRs? It's quite hard to see what you're after because they are so very different cameras. Thus even someone figures the F4 or the F6 being "better" than the other in some way it may not fit your need at all.

So why not something lighter? The N80? The F100 (fitted with a K3 screen)? Cameras from other makers? AF cameras that are not SLRs? Just too many options out there. What is it in a camera that you really need as a "replacement" of the CLE?
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Old 07-15-2018   #33
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I have a F4 with an 85mm AF, 50mm 1.4 AI-s, 135mm 2.8 AI-s that I'll trade straight up for your CLE w/40mm
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Old 07-15-2018   #34
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You are basically asking if it makes sense to replace your sports car (CLE) with a fully loaded 4x4 pickup truck (F4 or F6). Either will accomplish 99% of what you need them for. The Nikons are designed to handle rough usage much better. The F4 is probably the most solidly built fully electronic camera ever. For less than $200 today you can buy one and rest assured it will outlive you no matter how rough you treat it. If it breaks down (I personally have never heard of this happening to anyone I know that has one) then just buy another one. If the CLE breaks down good luck getting it repaired for anything close to $200.

Ultimately it comes down to if you are okay lugging around a 4x4 pickup truck. It is handy, solid, and reliable, but certainly not sleek and stealthy. I personally like having both.
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Old 07-15-2018   #35
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Quote:
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#7 3d Colour matrix metering in the F6 is 100% BS. It heavily underexposes in back lit situations, just like any old avg pattern. Treat it like an avg pattern then you'll be .
Well, I wanted to say this for a long time. I haven't seen the superiority of 3D colour matrix on my F5 over any other camera I have. I had to send it for calibration and still no superiority. To be honest, the b&w films I shoot with the F4 seem to be easier to scan and print. Never shot slides though but with b&w print film the 3D colour matrix makes no difference to me.
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Old 07-15-2018   #36
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Had an F4s for many years and currently have an F6. The F6 is "better in every way" except for the one that drives me batty. I've got a little over a half dozen AI'd classic Nikkors that I love to shoot. On every F I've owned (F, F2, F3, F4s, FM2N) I could just change lenses and keep shooting. On the F6 I always have to stop, go into the menu (which is really hard for my 61 yr old eyes to read) and enter in the lens value before I can start shooting. This drives me nuts, and slows me down. Not sure why the F, F2, F3-HP, F4s and FM2N can all use the lenses with no "lens data input" but the F6 cannot.

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Old 07-15-2018   #37
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Had an F4s for many years and currently have an F6. The F6 is "better in every way" except for the one that drives me batty. I've got a little over a half dozen AI'd classic Nikkors that I love to shoot. On every F I've owned (F, F2, F3, F4s, FM2N) I could just change lenses and keep shooting. On the F6 I always have to stop, go into the menu (which is really hard for my 61 yr old eyes to read) and enter in the lens value before I can start shooting. This drives me nuts, and slows me down. Not sure why the F, F2, F3-HP, F4s and FM2N can all use the lenses with no "lens data input" but the F6 cannot.

Best,
-Tim
Tim, you don't have yours set up so that after you initially choose all the Ai-S lenses and save them, you select them just by pushing that little button on the bottom right of the lens mount?

What bugs me about the F6 (and another thing!) is that if you store it w/o batteries - as you should - it forgets it's memory settings after a few weeks (I forget how long). Obviously not an issue if you use the camera a lot, but when you have many in rotation it happens.
Then u have to dive into that awful, unintuitive menu system to reset everything. With an F4 (or my favourite Nikon the F3), no such nonsense.
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Old 07-15-2018   #38
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Hey Huss,

Well, since this is the first I've heard of it, I guess I'm gonna have to say mine isn't set up like that. So this means I'm gonna have to sit down and spend half a day reading that darn manual that came with the camera. Does this also work on non-AI lenses that have been AI'd, or only lenses that came from Nikon as AI-S?

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Old 07-15-2018   #39
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Originally Posted by p.giannakis View Post
Well, I wanted to say this for a long time. I haven't seen the superiority of 3D colour matrix on my F5 over any other camera I have. I had to send it for calibration and still no superiority. To be honest, the b&w films I shoot with the F4 seem to be easier to scan and print. Never shot slides though but with b&w print film the 3D colour matrix makes no difference to me.
Yup.
In Nikon's initial press release they bragged about the "3D Color Matrix Metering". With appropriate AF lenses, they claim that it based exposure on what is in focus i.e. the subject. Because the camera with appropriate lens reads the distance of what is in focus.
Except that this does not work at all. You don't even have to take a pic, just point your camera at a back lit subject, focus, then watch the exposure values change as you switch between spot, center weight and "3D Color Matrix". The latter acts just like any old avg pattern.

Nikon has improved it by quite a bit with its modern DSLRs, but you still are never sure as to how it will behave, so I favour patterns that you know what the bias is.

Anyway, back on topic. Was this thread about getting a camera for Dante to use, or his 8 year old kid? Cuz if it was for the kid, no way would I ever get them a heavy expensive camera that is overly complicated. Just get any basic AF film camera. Cheap.
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Old 07-15-2018   #40
Huss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Hey Huss,

Well, since this is the first I've heard of it, I guess I'm gonna have to say mine isn't set up like that. So this means I'm gonna have to sit down and spend half a day reading that darn manual that came with the camera. Does this also work on non-AI lenses that have been AI'd, or only lenses that came from Nikon as AI-S?

Best,
-Tim

Tim.
I'm here for you. I just happen to have my F6 manual by my computer all the time (for when I forget what the ... does). And here is the page (really starts on 144):



And as a bonus, this is how you set the AE-L to stay locked for as many exposures as you want, until you unlock it by pushing the AE-L button again or turning off the camera. Default setting is it only holds it for 1 exposure. Which is why I got rid of my F100 as there was no way to change that.

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