I’ve shot with a number of Nikon F5’s over the years and I know firsthand the pros and cons of this incredible SLR.
The Nikon F5 is widely known as one of the best SLR’s ever made. At a third of the price of the Nikon F6, the Nikon F5 is the best value for money and it was the most popular among professionals of its time. With shutter speeds of 1/8000 to 30 seconds and 3-D Colour Matrix metering, this was incredibly advanced for its time. One of the only downsides to this camera is its tremendous weight, at around 1.2kg, this would be hard to shoot with for extended periods of time for most people.
If you want to find out more about this fantastic camera then carry on reading!
Nikon F5 Specs
Mount – F Mount
Format – 35mm
ISO – DX (ISO 25-5000), Manual (ISO 6-6400)
Shutter Speeds – 1/8000 – 30 Seconds
Batteries – 8 x AA’s or NiMH
Exposure – Manual/Aperture Priority/Shutter Priority/Auto
Focusing – Auto/Manual (Depending on the lens)
Flash – Hotshoe
Flash Sync – 1/300
Weight – 1.2kg / 2.6lbs
Framerate – 8/S
The F5 was produced between 1996 and 2004, this was the 5th professional Nikon SLR to be produced, after the Nikon F, F2, F3 and F4. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who also designed the F3 and F4, this wound up to be one of the best SLR’s ever developed.
How Much Is The Nikon F5 Worth Now?
You can currently buy the Nikon F5 for £300 or $350-75 for just the body and around £350-75 or $425-450 for a complete setup with a 50mm lens. This is a general price guide, if you look around for long enough then you may be able to find one for less money, but always be careful that you’re purchasing a good camera!
I always buy my cameras from eBay, as they have a great cover for buyers and you can find some bargains if you look hard enough. If you’re thinking of buying the F5 then take a look at this link here. Otherwise, you can try other reputable websites, just try to ensure that you’re covered for your purchase!
How Does The Nikon F5 Compare To The F4 and F6?
The Nikon F5 is touted as one of the best SLR cameras on the market, but it’s sandwiched between the F4 and F6, how does it compare to these two beasts?
|Nikon F4||Nikon F5||Nikon F6|
|Weight||1.4kg/2.9lbs||1.2kg / 2.6lbs||975g/ 2.1lbs|
|Batteries||4 X AA||8 X AA||2 X CR123|
|Ease Of Use||Easy||Easy||Easy|
|Chance Of Fault||Low||Low||Low|
|Shutter Speeds||1/8000 – 30 Secs||1/8000 – 30 Secs||1/8000 – 30 Secs|
|ISO||DX (ISO 25-5000), Manual (ISO 6-6400)||DX (ISO 25-5000), Manual (ISO 6-6400)||DX: ISO 25-5000/ Manual: ISO 6-6400|
|Exposure||Manual/Aperture Priority/Shutter Priority/Auto||Manual/Aperture Priority/Shutter Priority/Auto||Manual/Aperture Priority/Shutter Priority/Auto|
|Frame Rate||5.7/S||8/S||5.5/s or 8/s with MB40 Battery Pack|
Clearly, there isn’t too much difference between each of these cameras. The Nikon F5 has far better exposure metering than the F4 with some ahead of its time, 3D Colour matrix metering. The Nikon F6 is better than both the Nikon F5 and F4 but at around 3 times the price, I don’t think that it’s three times better by any stretch.
The key thing that sets apart the Nikon F5 and Nikon F6 is the size and weight, the Nikon F5 is much more bulky and heavy but it has most of the attributes that the F6 has. If you can handle the weight and size, you may as well get the F5, especially if you’re on a budget.
I’ve read a lot on the differences between the Nikon F5 and F6 and it doesn’t amount to a whole lot. The Nikon F5 would still make a fantastic professional film camera in this day and age and it’s much more affordable, meaning you can still invest in great lenses and other necessities. Of course, the Nikon F6 is the best and it is lighter but for the extra money I don’t think you’ll see a big difference.
If you want to find out more about the exact differences of these two beasts, then take a look at this article from F6 Project for a concise comparison.
What Kind Of Photography Is The Nikon F5 Best For?
The Nikon F5 is best for Sport, News, Events, wildlife, Documentary photography and much more. Sadly, I don’t believe this is a great camera for travel or things like street photography, it’s just so big and bulky that it’s not really very practical. The reason why it’s best for the previous things mentioned is because it can be fully automatic, it his a high frame rate with brilliant autofocus and it also has very versatile settings.
For a long time, this would have been the professionals camera, everything was perfect about it barring the weight. You could use some incredible lenses with this camera and produce some of the best shots of the time.
As a day-to-day camera, this would be quite exhausting, it’s definitely not really a ‘documenting life’ type camera. As I mentioned before, it’s not really a street photography type of camera either, it’s big and it’s bulky, it’s all the things that street photographers tend to hate. That’s not to say that you couldn’t use it for street photography, just that it’s not the kind of camera that most people would use.
Is The Nikon F5 Good For Beginners?
The Nikon F5 could be good for beginners because you can shoot it fully automatically. Even though the Nikon F5 is thought of as a professional SLR camera, it does have auto/aperture priority/shutter priority mode, this means that you could almost use it as a point and shoot, especially if you have an autofocus lens.
If you were thinking using the Nikon F5 as a beginner, I think that using it in aperture priority mode might be a good way to start to learn and understand how to use your camera. Many professionals will still use auto or priority modes, but it’s their understanding that ultimately helps them to be better photographers.
What Lens Is Best For The Nikon F5?
One of the best lenses to use with a Nikon F5 would definitely be the Nikon 50mm f1.8 D AF Lens, which is a beautiful autofocus lens that can provide some incredible shots with a lot of depth.
Of course, you can still use all of the vintage Nikon lenses on the F5 too, all of these lenses are still compatible with the Nikon F5, you’ll just have to focus and change aperture manually as they won’t have autofocus.
You could also try a 28, 35 and 85mm AF Nikon lens, all of these focal lengths are brilliant to try out and will provide you with exciting and interesting results!
What Kind Of Film Stock Is Best For The Nikon F5?
The Best film stock for the Nikon F5 would be Kodak Portra 800. Since the Nikon F5 is primarily ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects, Portra 800 is the best film stock for that job. Of course, you may not actually be planning on shooting moving subjects, a film stock like Kodak Portra 400 might be better in this case. Either way, it would seem a shame to use a low-quality film stock with the Nikon F5 since it’s such a professional camera.
Of course, if you wanted to shoot black and white then you could use something like Kodak Tri-X. If you aren’t too sure about what film stock to use or where to get it then check out this article that I wrote for you guys.
How To Use The Nikon F5
The Nikon F5 can be very easy to use, or moderately complicated, and that purely depends on how you choose to use it. I’ll explain all of the functions of the F5 as best I can.
To remove the lens you simply have to press in the circular black button on the right hand side of the lens (about an inch below the F5 logo) while rotating the lens clockwise.
To access the battery compartment, there is a small switch on the bottom left side of the camera. It’s a kind of pull that needs to be flipped up, rotated 90 degrees and then pulled outwards, revealing the massive battery pack that needs all 8 AA batteries.
To change the aperture you need to rotate the aperture ring, usually located at the base of the camera, it may read something like 1.8 – 22 or something similar.
To change the iso manually, you must hold the ISO button located at the base of the camera where the battery compartment is. While you hold this button you can then spin the wheel located on the top right of the back of the camera. This will allow you to choose an ISO manually, however, the camera will automatically pick the correct ISO for you if it’s between 25 and 5000, which most camera films are!
To focus the camera you can choose either autofocus or manual focus depending on the type of camera lens you have. To change to manual focus with your autofocus lens, there is a small switch to the bottom right of the lens, if you switch it down to ‘M’ then you can focus manually.
To attach a flash, there is a hotshoe on top of the prism, simply attach the flash to the hot shoe and ensure that you’re shooting at the flash sync speed.
To rewind your film, there are two switches to engage simultaneously, one at the bottom right and one at the top left. Engage these buttons and wait until it has fully rewound before opening the back.
The Nikon F5 is a fantastic camera to use and if you can handle the weight, you probably may as well buy it over the Nikon F6. With a Nikon F5 and 50mm 1.8 lens, you can get some incredible high-quality shots and enjoy the luxury of Autofocus and autoexposure.