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Nikon F6 - a new film based SLR

by Bob Atkins,


Last month Nikon announced the new Nikon F6 - a film based SLR. This is the first new pro level film based SLR to be announced by any major manufacturer in quite a while. I guess film isn't quite dead yet! I'm really no expert on the Nikon system, so I'll leave it up to the Nikon experts to add their comments on the new F6 to the end of this article.

The camera is currently listing at major discount dealers for around $2300 and should be available soon (October 2004)

We have no details other than those given in the Nikon press release, which is given below.

Nikon Press Release

TOKYO - Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the introduction of the F6, the latest of the legendary F series cameras. The F6 is the sixth in the F series lineup, inaugurated with the Nikon F in 1959. The series evolved gradually, with the original Nikon F being followed by the F2 (1971), F3 (1980), F4 (1988) and the critically acclaimed F5 in 1996. Each of these cameras inherits select elements from its predecessors, including the legendary Nikon F mount, while offering the latest innovations to meet the increasingly diversified needs of professional photographers. A great number of Nikon F series cameras and Nikkor lenses are being put to the test day after day in various locations around the world - years, even decades, after their initial launch. The new Nikon F6 promises to uphold Nikon’s tradition of innovation and enduring value.

The F6 includes the latest Nikon advances, such as the 11-area AF system for exceptionally high-speed autofocus operation with outstanding accuracy, and the Creative Lighting System for incomparable flash photography. And Nikon’s proprietary 3D Color Matrix Metering system has been refined for improved accuracy in scene reading.

As you’d expect, the F6 satisfies the uncompromising standards of reliability that professionals command. An aluminum-alloy die-cast chassis; magnesium-alloy front body and covers (top, bottom); aluminum-alloy back body and camera back; strategically placed rubber surfaces; an easy-to-grip texture, and a self-diagnostic shutter that has undergone testing to assure accurate release up to and beyond 150,000 cycles, even in the most extreme environmental conditions. The F6 embodies the strength, rigidity and durability to perform wherever and whenever photographers need it.

Furthermore, the F6 offers a variety of exciting, innovative control options such as a customizable function button, built-in data back functions and shooting data memory. You can also enjoy the convenience and versatility afforded by 41 Custom Settings which allow you to fine-tune the F6 to suit your individual shooting preferences and requirements.

The new flagship film SLR also boasts a number of dedicated accessories. These include the Multi Power Battery Pack MB-40, interchangeable focusing screens (seven types), Data Reader MV-1 and camera cases.

Nikon F6 Feature Highlights

High-precision shutter unit
No shutter unit in any other camera comes close to matching the precision of the F6’ assembly. Created from cutting-edge materials - DuPont™ KEVLAR®* and a special aluminum alloy - the blades of the shutter unit offer unparalleled reliability and are extremely lightweight, for lightning-quick movement. For enhanced accuracy, the movement of the blades is carefully analyzed using a high-speed video camera and computer simulations, enabling unprecedented precision even at shutter speeds of up to 1/8,000 second.

*DuPont™ and KEVLAR® are trademarks and registered trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates.

Minimized operational sound and vibration
Nikon engineers were so intent on subduing the camera’s operational sounds that they used a professional audio room to properly gauge their quality and frequency. The degree of vibration to which every part of the camera would be subjected was measured. This meticulous approach has resulted in a camera comprised of parts that have been highly refined for absolute minimum vibration, and frequency of movement attenuated to a level below that detectable by the human ear.

Highly efficient mechanics
The development of the F6 marks the first time 3D computer movement analysis has ever been applied to an SLR. This technique reveals the degree of power distributed to or generated by particular parts in specific directions. This made it possible for us to optimize the mechanical operation of the camera with fewer parts, leading to lower power consumption and higher durability.

Harsh environmental testing
To ensure the camera could withstand the most severe conditions and environments, the F6 has been subjected to rigorous testing. The F6’s astonishing reliability is a function of our “right material for the right place” approach. Our engineers considered countless situations for camera use, then submitted the F6 to real-life testing to virtually guarantee exceptional dependability wherever and whenever photographers shoot.

Nikon F6 Major Features

Advanced Autofocus System

  • Multi-CAM 2000 Autofocus (AF) Sensor Module: The advanced high-speed, high-precision 11-area AF system with 9 cross-type AF sensors ensures quick response and sharp focus regardless of shooting conditions.
  • Four AF Area Modes: Single Area AF, Dynamic AF with Focus Tracking and Lock-on™, Closest Subject Priority Dynamic AF, Group Dynamic AF

Advanced Exposure Metering System

  • 3D Color Matrix Metering with improved algorithm
  • Flexible Center-Weighted Metering
  • Spot Metering corresponds to the focus area selected

Exposure Control

  • P, S, A, M, Flexible Program, Exposure Compensation, Auto Exposure/Flash Bracketing
  • Shutter speeds up to 1/8,000 sec.
  • Shutter speed and aperture control adjustable in 1/3 EV steps
  • Built-in Data Back functions
  • Customizable Function Button can be used to perform FV Lock, AE-L/AF-L, Flash Cancel or Metering operation.

Creative Lighting System (with SB-800/600)

  • i-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash
  • Advanced Wireless Lighting capability
  • AUTO FP High-Speed Sync capability
  • FV (Flash Value) Lock
  • Slow Sync and Rear-Curtain Sync

Stylish, High-durability Design

  • Exterior design by Giorgetto GIUGIARO*
  • Floating mechanisms ensure quiet operation
  • Aluminum-alloy die-cast chassis; magnesium-alloy front body and covers (top, bottom); aluminum-alloy back body and camera back combine to optimize reliability
  • Enhanced resistance to rain and dust
  • Self-diagnostic double-bladed shutter tested to 150,000 cycles supported by Nikon’s exclusive Shutter Monitor

Other important features

  • Four film advance modes: Single (S), Continuous Low-Speed (CL) for up to approx. 2 frames per second (fps), Continuous High-Speed (CH) for up to 5.5 fps (or 8 fps with optional Multi Power Battery Pack MB-40), and Continuous Silent (CS) for nearly silent operation at approximately 1 fps.
  • Electronically controlled depth-of-field preview function
  • Fast film rewind (9 seconds with 36-exp. film roll)
  • Manual film rewind
  • 41 Custom Settings
  • Nikon F mount
  • 10-pin remote terminal

Dedicated Accessories

  • Interchangeable focusing screens
  • Multi Power Battery Pack MB-40
  • Optional Data Reader MV-1
  • Camera cases

Nikon F6 Specifications

Type of camera Integral-motor autofocus 35mm single-lens reflex with electronically controlled focal-plane shutter
Exposure modes Programmed Auto (Flexible Program possible), Shutter-Priority Auto, Aperture-Priority Auto and Manual
Picture format 24 x 36mm (standard 35mm film format)
Lens mount Nikon F mount (with AF coupling, AF contacts)
Lenses usable G- or D-type AF Nikkor (except for DX- and IX-Nikkor): All functions available; PC-Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D: All functions except autofocus and exposure modes other than Manual available without shifting and/or tilting the lens; AF Nikkor other than G-/D-type (except AF Nikkor for F3AF): All functions except 3D Color Matrix Metering and i-TTL flash control available; AI-P Nikkor: All functions except 3D Color Matrix Metering, i-TTL flash control and autofocus available; Non-CPU: Usable in Aperture-Priority Auto or Manual exposure mode, electronic rangefinder usable with lens having a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster, Color Matrix Metering, aperture value display, etc. usable with lens meeting specified criteria
Viewfinder Fixed eye-level pentaprism, built-in diopter adjustment (-2.0 to +1m-1), eyepiece shutter, eyepiece DK-17 (eyepiece lock available)
Eyepoint 18mm (at -1.0m-1)
Focusing screen B-type BriteView clear Matte screen II, interchangeable with six other optional focusing screens
Viewfinder frame coverage Approx. 100%
Finder magnification Approx. 0.74x with 50mm lens set to infinity and 1.0m-1
Viewfinder information Focus indications, metering system, AE lock, FV lock, exposure mode, shutter speed lock, sync speed, shutter speed, aperture stop, aperture lock, aperture, multiple exposure, battery level, frame counter/exposure compensation value, electronic analog exposure display, exposure compensation, bracketing, ready-light, 11 sets of focus brackets
Autofocus TTL phase detection, Nikon Multi-CAM2000 autofocus module
Autofocus detection range Approx. EV -1 to EV 19 (ISO 100, at normal temperature)
Focus modes Single Servo AF, Continuous Servo AF, Manual
Focus Tracking Automatically activated in Single Servo AF or Continuous Servo AF
Focus area One - or a group - of 11 focus areas can be selected
AF Area modes Single Area AF, Dynamic AF, Group Dynamic AF or Dynamic AF with Closest-Subject Priority
Focus lock Focus is locked by pressing AE/AF-L button or lightly pressing shutter release button in Single Servo AF
Exposure metering Three built-in exposure meters - 3D Color Matrix, Center-Weighted and Spot
Metering range (ISO 100, f/1.4 lens) EV 0 - 20 in 3D Color Matrix and Center-Weighted, EV 2 – 20 in Spot
Exposure compensation With exposure compensation button; ±5 EV range, in 1/3, 1/2 or 1 steps
Auto Exposure Bracketing Number of shots: 2-7; compensation steps: 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, or 1 EV steps
Auto Exposure Lock Detected exposure value locked by pressing AE/AF-L button
Film speed setting DX or Manual selectable (manual setting has priority over DX detected film speed); DX: ISO 25-5000, Manual: ISO 6-6400 in 1/3 steps
Shutter Electronically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter with built-in Shutter Monitor
Shutter speeds 30 to 1/8,000s (1/3 steps in S and M modes); Bulb setting available in M mode (Shutter speed can be prolonged to 30 minutes in M mode)
Accessory shoe ISO518 hot-shoe contact digital data communication (sync contact, ready-light contact, TTL auto flash contact, monitor contact, GND), safety lock provided
Sync contact X-contact only; flash synchronization up to 1/250s (up to 1/8,000s possible in AUTO FP High-Speed Sync
Flash control TTL flash control by combined five-segment TTL Multi Sensor with single-component IC and 1,005-pixel RGB sensor; i-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash with SB-800/600; Film speed range in TTL auto flash: ISO 25-1000
Flash sync modes Front-curtain sync (normal sync), Red-Eye Reduction, Red-Eye Reduction with Slow Sync, Slow Sync, Rear-Curtain Sync
Flash ready-light Lights up when the compatible Nikon Speedlight attached is fully charged; Blinks (3 seconds after flash) for full output warning
Sync terminal ISO519 terminal, lock screw provided
Creative Lighting System Advanced Wireless Lighting, AUTO FP High-Speed Sync, Modeling flash, FV Lock and Wide Area AF-Assist Illuminator available with SB-800/600 Speedlights
Self-timer Electronically controlled; timer duration: 10 seconds
Depth-of-field preview button Press to stop-down lens aperture
Mirror lockup Set using film advance mode selector
Film loading Film automatically advances to first frame when camera back is closed
Film advance modes Automatic advance with built-in motor; three modes available (S: One-frame advance, CL: Continuous low-speed shooting, CH: Continuous high-speed shooting, CS: Continuous silent-low-speed shooting)
Film advance speed (With Continuous Servo AF (C), Manual exposure mode, shutter speed of 1/250s or faster, 36-exposure film, CR123A-type lithium batteries [AA-size alkaline-manganese or Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4 in Multi Power Battery Pack MB-40])
CL: Approx. 2 fps [4 fps]; CH: Approx 5.5 fps [8 fps]; CS: Approx. 1 fps [2 fps]
Film rewind Choice of automatic or manual; automatically rewinds at the end of film roll or when two film rewind buttons are pressed; Rewind speed with 36-exposure film: Approx. 7 seconds (12 seconds in CS mode)
Multiple exposure Activated via shooting menu
Interval timer Activated via shooting menu
Top LCD panel information Shutter speed lock, sync speed, shutter speed, aperture stop, aperture lock, aperture, Auto Exposure Bracketing, exposure mode, Flexible Program, exposure compensation, electronic analog exposure display, battery power, exposure compensation value, Auto Exposure Bracketing status, frame counter
Rear LCD panel information Shooting display (Normal, detailed, full display); Shooting data display (film data, frame data); Menu display (Custom Setting menu, set up menu, shooting menu, Non-CPU lens, language)
Data imprint Activated via shooting menu; in-frame, between-frame and 0-frame imprint possible: film speed range: ISO 50 - 3200 (DX)
Internal clock Built-in clock; 24-hour; leap year adjustment until 2099
Camera back Hinged back; film confirmation window, AF area mode selector, multi-selector, MENU button, film speed (ISO) button, flash sync mode button, INFO button, rear LCD panel, built-in data imprint unit
Shooting data Recordable number of film rolls (36 exposures): Approx. 57 rolls in basic shooting data (13 items), Approx. 31 rolls in detailed shooting data (21 items)
10-pin remote terminal Equipped
Power source Battery holder MS-41 provided (two 3V lithium batteries); optional Multi Power Battery Pack MB-40 and AA-type battery holder MS-40 available (for eight alkaline-manganese, lithium or Ni-MH batteries, or one Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4 [with optional Battery Chamber Cover BL-3]); built-in backup battery for internal clock
Power switch Power ON, OFF and LCD panel illuminator
Exposure meter Auto meter shut-off 8 seconds after power turned on if no operations are performed; activated by lightly pressing shutter release button or pressing AF start button after power is turned on
Battery power confirmation for sufficient power; indicates batteries are beginning to lose power; indicates batteries are just about exhausted, prepare fresh batteries; blinking indicates replacement of batteries is necessary (shutter locks and rear LCD indications disappear)
Number of film rolls per set of fresh batteries (Approx.)
Usable number of 36-exposure film rolls per set of fresh batteries (Approx.):
The usable number of film rolls was tested under the following conditions by Nikon.
Test 1
Using an AF-S VR 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED lens, Vibration Reduction function on, in Continuous Servo AF with film advance mode at S and shutter speed of 1/250 second. After lightly pressing the shutter release button for 8 seconds, autofocus operation covers the full range from infinity (8) to the closest distance and back to infinity (8) before each shot. After the exposure meter automatically turns off, the same operation follows for the next shot.
Battery/Temperature 20°C (68°F) -10°C (14°F)
CR123A 3V lithium 15 6
LR6/AA-size alkaline (with MB-40) 10 1
R6/AA-size Ni-MH (with MB-40) 30 30
FR6/AA-size lithium (with MB-40) 45 35
Rechargeable Li-ion EN-EL4 (with MB-40) 35 25
Test 2
Using an AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens, Vibration Reduction function on, in Continuous Servo AF with film advance mode at CH and shutter speed of 1/250 second. After lightly pressing the shutter release button for 3 seconds, autofocus operation covers the full range from infinity (8) to the closest distance and back to infinity (8) three times before each shot. The same operation follows for the next shot.
Battery/Temperature 20°C (68°F) -10°C (14°F)
CR123A 3V lithium 35 15
LR6/AA-size alkaline (with MB-40) 55 4
R6/AA-size Ni-MH (with MB-40) 55 50
FR6/AA-size lithium (with MB-40) 95 70
Rechargeable Li-ion EN-EL4 (with MB-40) 65 50


Duration of Long Time (Bulb) exposure (Approx.)
Battery/Temperature 20°C (68°F) -10°C (14°F)
CR123A 3V lithium 5 hours 3 hours
LR6/AA-size alkaline (with MB-40) 6 hours 1.5 hours
R6/AA-size Ni-MH (with MB-40) 5 hours 4 hours
FR6/AA-size lithium (with MB-40) 8.5 hours 7 hours
Rechargeable Li-ion EN-EL4 (with MB-40) 7 hours 6 hours


Tripod socket 1/4 (ISO1222)
Custom Settings 41 Custom Settings are available
Two-Button Reset Pressing the MENU and INFO buttons simultaneously and holding them for more than 2 seconds resets various settings to their original default settings (with some exceptions)
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 157 x 119 x 78.5mm (6.2 x 4.7 x 3.1 in.)
Weight (without batteries) Approx. 975g (34.4 oz.)

All specifications apply when fresh batteries are used at normal temperature (20°C/68°F) under test conditions established by Nikon.
Specifications and design are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.
©2004 Nikon Corporation

Where to buy

The Nikon F6 should be available from many of the following photo.net affiliates. Ordering from these retailers via these links helps support photo.net

Adorama

Robert M. Atkins

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



Nelson Ricciardi , October 11, 2004; 12:48 A.M.

I don't get it. A new film SLR for 2300 dollars?

I'm not a market specialist and accept the fact that Nikon must have done some kind of market research. They believe there is a market for a film SLR of that quality. Who am I do judge Nikon?

But I'd like to read this material. I'd like to understand who are their targets, who is going to buy the new F6. Will they be able to find enough customers for this extraordinary machine?

I just would like to share with you my ignorance and ask you to share with me any info you might have about the market that can help me understand this move.

Thanks

Nelson

Yaron Kidron , October 11, 2004; 01:37 A.M.

Nelson, go fish through the Leica forum. I know that I will probably get it (in a year or so), just because I WANT ONE.

Edward Lake , October 11, 2004; 07:30 A.M.

I think it's great that we still have a choice in high level film cameras. Although I probably won't buy one (but one never knows!), it nice to have an alternative camera that will work where digitals may fear to tread. Meanwhile, I'll keep my FM2N handy.

Zapata Espinoza , October 11, 2004; 08:58 A.M.

The market are people who do not wish their equipment to become obsolete within a few months

Christopher Kink , October 11, 2004; 09:15 A.M.

Wow... Nikon added an F mount to a Maxxum 9, removed the built in flash and charged an extra $1000. And it only took them 6 years... (just kidding... okay, no I'm not)

The F5 seems like a genuinely nice camera overall. What exactly does the F6 offer except smaller size, a bit of spec sheet one-upmanship and the ability to milk another $2300 out of the must-have-latest-numbered-F-series-camera crowd? If I was interested in a modern Nikon, I'd take the probably soon to be discounted F5 or F100 over the F6.

I'm not a Nikon user, so maybe I'm missing something here but I just don't see the kind of innovation that I'd expect from an F series camera.

-Christopher

http://www.digital-daydream.com/

Arthur Yeo , October 11, 2004; 09:45 A.M.

This preview is kinda of late (or not as prompt as Canon products). :-)

The topic has already been discussed to death in the Photo.net's Forum/Nikon area.

I don't see a preview for Nikon's other products released at the same time: 300mm VR lens, the new DX2 12Mp digiSLR.

This is kinda making Nikon enthusiasts feel left out here in photo.net ...

Arthur Yeo , October 11, 2004; 09:50 A.M.

BTW, Bob, is Canon a paying vendor for this site?

Claude R. - Luxembourg / EU , October 11, 2004; 10:45 A.M.

Well Arthur, instead of whining that you are left out, you could write previews like this one yourself, and publish them for us all... what do you think?

Bruno Trematore , October 11, 2004; 11:31 A.M.

Being an engineer myself, I guess that to develop such a product, it takes some years. At least. Especially reading all the tests and workflow they've been through doing the F6. It might be that Nikon started to develop this product before digital technology made all it's latest steps. At this point the decision might have been between stopping the development and losing money or go on, and lose it in another way.

I was happy when (a couple of weeks ago), surfing on Nikon's website I saw the announcement of the F6. I will never buy it, I'm happy with my F90X (or N90s, as you call it in the US). The reason was that I thought... ok, film's not dead. Please accept that I enjoy shooting film and let's not start any film-digital debate.

I was reading an article from a Magnum Photographer some time ago (don't remember the name). He was complaining about digital cameras. About their fragility. About the time he had to spend in downloading. About the bad appearance of pictures without PS editing. About how many times his Flash Cards were breaking. About the impossibility to establish satellite connections from Afghanistan (and you cannot ship a flash card as you would ship a couple of rolls)... and so on. The end was something like "I'm so busy in all this digital-related stuff, that I got no time anymore to go out and meet people at evenings, to have new contacts for better stories".

What I wanted to say: there are still people around, who like film. Might be because they're "jurassic". Might be because film equipment is still more rugged. Might be because they're film fetish, like me. Probably the marketplace is not so small as it seems.

Bob Atkins , October 11, 2004; 11:58 A.M.

Arthur

Very sorry to burst your conspiracy theory bubble, but the sad fact is that Canon don't sponsor photo.net, nor do they pay me to promote their products :-( If they'd like to do either, I'd urge them to get in touch....

What gets reviewed here mainly reflects the interests of the reviewers and since I'm the principle reviewer these days and I've been a Canon EOS system user for 15+ years, Canon DSLRs and lenses are what I know best.

We did have some promises of user previews of the recent Nikon stuff, but nothing has been submitted to us, so I "bit the bullet" and wrote my own preview of the F6. I also have previews of the D2X and Maxxum 7D just about ready to upload, so they should appear today or tomorrow.

Unlike some other gearhead review sites, photo.net doesn't have a staff of full time paid reviewers. It has me (part time), plus it depends on users to contribute articles. So if Nikon, Pentax, Minolta etc. seem to get less airtime than Canon, it's just a reflection of what I know, not a conspiracy or payoffs by Canon. I wish photo.net (and me) was on Canon's VIP list. That way we'd get an EOS 20D and 1Ds mark II to actually review, and they'd jet me off to far away exotic places to try out their latest gear. Canon - are you listening??

Arthur Yeo , October 11, 2004; 12:20 P.M.

Bob,
I apologise for being putting it in the way I did.

Bruno,
Totally agree with what you said. As far as I can tell, most of the current works published in the NG are still based on 35mm SLR images. There are occasional DSLR works but not a lot. And, in Outdoor Photographer magazines, most of the Showcase full page images are coming from film-based MF and LF cameras with occasional images from SLRs; I have yet to see one from DSLR's.

Andrew Dawson , October 11, 2004; 12:55 P.M.

It doesn't seem like the market for this camera will be huge, but I doubt Nikon would've pursued it didn't make sense somehow. If nothing else, you'll have a select group of pro's and purists who will buy the latest gear just because... they gotta have it. In any case, film is not as dead as some people seem to propagate in cyberspace. (And that's coming from someone who still prefers film, but is not morally opposed to digital and appreciates its strong points).

I'm dismayed to see that the F6 doesn't seem to have the interchangeable finders, i.e. the sportfinders of the F4/F5. Since EVERYBODY complains about small finders (esp.on DSLR's) this was a nice option to have, at least as a film user. Oh well...

Ilkka Nissila , October 11, 2004; 01:13 P.M.

Bob, it would be nice if you tried to start your non-Canon previews with a little bit less sneering attitude. The F6 is a film camera, there is no need for bold and italics in saying that. Since obviously there are people who use film, it makes sense for Nikon to unify its model line so that the F6, D2H and D2X share many of the same parts. It becomes cheaper to make them. While digital is very good and attractive, there is no Nikon 24x36 mm digital SLR and for some wide angle applications a film camera is the best solution. In addition, flash photography with color negative film gives a lot better results than digital, and a digital camera would mean big trouble in remote areas, or whenever it gets really cold. I think it's very sensible (and commendable) of Nikon for continuing to support film users.

Paul de Vries , October 11, 2004; 01:52 P.M.

As an other engineer I want to add to Brunos remark that it seems that the F6 has a lot in common with the new D2X. Nikon probably safes money but stoping production of the F5 and sharing parts of the production line for the F6 with the D2X.

Paul

chunping lu , October 11, 2004; 01:52 P.M.

Well, isn't F5 still a lot of camera for film shooters? What's the point to develop another top of the line film body while the F5 is still adequate for even the most picky shooters in the most difficult conditions?

Ilkka Nissila , October 11, 2004; 02:23 P.M.

The F5 has several ergonomic faults which are solved by the F6: it's big, heavy, some buttons are hard to access, and its AF while it is very good, is not as good as the D2X/H's. In addition, the F6 is an improvement in terms of quietness and power consumption. What's wrong with that? Can't really see.

Bruno Trematore , October 11, 2004; 06:04 P.M.

Funny that the discussion has turned only on "if Nikon should have produced a film camera".

I never used an F4 or F5. I can say that the only thing I don't like of my F90X is that it's incredibly noisy. Would like to try that "Continous Silent" mode of the F6. But still, too expensive for me (not being a pro).

David Rivera , October 11, 2004; 06:59 P.M.

I always thought there would be an update to the F5 because as good a camera as it is many people seemed to favor the F100 for significant reason such as the highlited focus points and weight.

Hopefully this means there will also be an update for the N80, although I like it, I feel it could use a brighter viewfinder and a faster motordrive, etc...

Well done NIKON.

Eugenio Demmenie , October 11, 2004; 08:33 P.M.

If you have an alternative perspective to contribute that will be of interest to other readers of this page two or three years from now, one can add his or her comment.

Well I am not sure my views live up to that, but I would like to say what I like and find less about this F6. Plus a few things about digital photography. I have only had the F6 in my hands for about 5 minutes at the last Photokina. I enjoy to photograph with my MF Nikons, and my experience with AF Nikons is very limited.

To start with the first thing I found less is the fact that the camera is to small for my hands: My little finger ends up underneath the camera and that feels uncomfortable. So I (with my hands) would opt for a MB40 battery pack just to have a better grip.
The lack of the changeable viewfinders - e.g. the 6x magnifier (DW4, DW21) which is convenient for macro work - is a pity. The magnifier is convenient when depth of field is small, but also because one looks from above into the viewfinder, handy if objects are close to the ground. Ofcourse the angle magnifier does the same thing, but it only magnifies 2 times. Because of this lack of viewfinders some see the F6 more as a F200.

What I like is the fact that color matrix metering is possible for AI lenses after entering the lenses focal length and aperture into the memory of the camera. The F6 can store information for 10 lenses at a time. The D2H has the similar feature, but it is a great addition. Do we need more AF sensors. I don't see the benefit of that, but the red lighting up of the selected sensor can be seen as an improvement compared to the F5 (but it is not new - F80 and F100).

Digital was hot at this Photokina, film was definetely in the minority at this Photokina even more so than 2 years ago. Alas, I also saw a lot of mediocre digital prints, that could have be done so much nicer. The small corner at the Fuji stand with the 36 mm up to 4x5 inch slides came as a great relief....what a quality! And it made me wonder, why on earth large format producers mostly showed their camera's with digital backs and hardly showed a film back. Two years ago it was the other way around. Perhaps for publishers and in other profesional fields digital is already a by far more convenient format.

And on the amateur level, many people (but not all) have experienced the convenience of digital photography and have noticed the improvement in their pictures, compared to the mediocre prints of their films they were made to live with in the past. It is a bit like the LP vs. CD story.

But I still wonder...how long do we like to keep (or can we keep) our digitally recorded images? Do we have to copy our digital files to a new harddisk every 3 or 5 years when we have a new computer? Will the digicam of today still be supported 10 years from now by new generations of software/hardware?

Brian Cincotta , October 12, 2004; 10:47 A.M.

I'm surprised, since 1996-when the F5 was introduced, this new F6 isn't all that different from the F5. Another oddity, is the additional battery pack being sold separately from the camera-considering its heft price tag. And still, only 250 flash sync. Nikon could have done better.

Andrew Dawson , October 12, 2004; 07:25 P.M.

Brian, I believe you can get sync speeds much faster then 1/250 if you use one of Nikon's newer flashes, i.e. SB-800. I haven't used it myself, but isn't that what the "AUTO FP High-Speed Sync" refers to? Also true on the F5, I think. With that said, I've always wondereed why 1/250 seems to be such a magical barrier. If the new Kevlar (bulletproof?) shutter is so revolutionary, why can't it sync faster no matter what flash you use?

I agree that "F200" is a more accurate name, even if you can add the big battery pack.

Ilkka Nissila , October 13, 2004; 07:04 A.M.

What's wrong with 1/250s sync? The fastest Nikon has ever done is F5's 1/300 s (except for FP) and that doesn't work with TTL. The digital shutter speeds can be faster (such as in the D70) because they're electronically implemented and that can't be done for film.

I think this camera solves all the problems of the F5: too few focus points, too invisible focus points, too heavy and big, clumsy because of the interchangeable viewfinder interface, and nearly impossible to use recessed thumb buttons. I think it's a pain to use AF for moving subjects with 5 sensors. Manual focus works better. 11 sensors is great.

sean berry , October 14, 2004; 07:03 P.M.

The D70 has flash sync at 1/500. Admittedly, it's not a film camera, but.

Jorge Diaz , October 16, 2004; 12:47 P.M.

What's the F6 got over the F5? The fixed pentaprism.The F5 viewfinder is not as invulnerable as portrayed.I happened to get some liquid splashed on it and it was a $400.00+...expense to get a spare.I like the digital revolution.I have a Fuji S2 pro that does wonders.But you have to admit that having a strong well built film outfit puts the back of you mind at ease over things as cleaning ,repairs, battery life and ruggedness.There's just no way to build a digital sensor as strong as the film spooling and plane.That slab of statically charged glorified sand will remain a worry in the back of my mind.Yes lens changeover is a lot more worry free with a film camera.Add to that that we are getting the most delicious generation of films from at least Kodak ,Fuji and Ilford.Even though digital stills are getting stunningly beautiful there's a residue of pixelation.Witness the difference in 'digital'movies like "Collateral Damage" and traditional silver media.There is an algorithmicky processed quality to the image and adds an almost cartoony vs real life stress in your suspension of disbelief.When I shoot film I am working with a full mind.When I shoot digital a bit less so as after the shot I go review it.Not having that luxury in film makes you more careful,more mindful.More photo - grapher.You have to notice where the light is coming from and how it might throw the meter off the right or optimal setting.Of course this is more critical to the candid style photography.Other types would not really care about this difference.But then again they might.The F6 is going to be in my list of desirable cameras no doubt. Even as I am not selling my F5.

Defurnaux régis , October 17, 2004; 08:22 P.M.

I am not going to comment on the F6 itself as I am still waiting to buy that camera and try it. But I am going to comment on the fact of offering en new pro film camera -and not digital.

The F6 is a refreshing camera in this "digital-only" world. There is no doubt that this camera is not intended for "urban" use. It is made for the non-digital world: where you can not find electricity for 4 weeks, where you can encounter every kind of climatic conditions in a single day, where absolute reliability is a must, where you don't have 3 cases of spare batteries, where you can not download your pictures in a computer, where temperatures are going down, where you migth change your optics in a middle of snow tempest, ... It's certainly not a big market for Nikon.

The F6 has therefore a legitimate place for these reasons, along with the fact that they are still people who do not want to update or change their camera, computer, special wires and cables, ... every year.

I need to write that I am not "moraly" against digital cameras -not at all! I think it's a facinating new way of taking pictures, BUT there are still some places where you can not go digital.

Peter Bilitch , October 18, 2004; 08:50 A.M.

It seems to me that the F6 offers a film camera created using the latest available technologies. What else do people want by way of a reason for Nikon to bring out a new model?

I assume the high price is due to the realistic forecast that there will be a majority of purchases made from the digital ranges, so the price reflects that a profit still needs to be made. There are, I imagine, likely to be customers for the F6 from amongst those that are still buying film.

Peter

Pedro Filho , October 20, 2004; 07:28 P.M.

Just to say that Nikon knows that film will be around for a long, long time.

Vivek . , October 21, 2004; 03:32 P.M.

Where is the REVIEW? It should be listed as a preview!

Andrew Robertson , October 22, 2004; 03:51 A.M.

Zapata, the F6 is, by contrast, for photographers who want a camera that's obsolete BEFORE it even goes up for sale!

Andreas Weber , October 22, 2004; 10:24 A.M.

IMO analog photography will have a little revival in a few years. It's like the LP - CD discussion. LPs were almost gone (nobody thought that this kind of music reproduction could survive), and suddenly people recognized, that LPs aren't that bad and CDs not that good as predicted. The same will happen to photography. Perhaps not to such a great extent, but there will be people shooting film - at least for the next fifty years. Hence, the argument that new film cameras are obsolete is not true and arrogant. In fifty years, a F6, F5 or any other film-based camera will still deliver great pictures and of course will still be valuable - in contrast to a Rebel, D70 or any other digital, which will be worthless. And at the moment, nothing can replace the view of a slide through a slide projector. Another big advantage of analog. However, I like digital - it's a fascinating (new) way of taking photographs.

Defurnaux régis , October 22, 2004; 02:41 P.M.

To respond to Andrew Robertson 's comment with some absurd sense -and adding that I think digital is a facinating new way of taking pictures:

I guess you are using a digital camera so I have 3 questions for you:

1. Do you think your Digital camera will not be osbsolete within the next 2 years, the computer you are using as well, the software, etc. ??? More than Probably, your camera even if it is like a D70, is already OBSOLETE. Digital is moving so fast... If we keep the example of a D70, will you still be admiring this camera in 5 years; I am sure no. So OBSOLETE is just a notion of time, but time goes by as well for digital equipment -even faster!

2. Do you think you will still be using your digital camera in +/-40 years, as people still do with a F or F2, or other brands ? I don't think so. So the F6 will probably be OBSOLETE in a few years (I hope at least 10) but then your actual digital camera will be far more (like a 100 times more) OBSOLETE.

3. Imagine you are doing a report for a magazine about the shepherds of central Turquey; there is no electricity and you will be shooting for at least 3 weeks; climatic conditions are "difficult" and you could change optics in a middle of a sandstorm; finally, as you are travelling light to follow the herds and men (bivouac with a solo tent), your camera will be enduring the same life as you do: will you go digital? If yes, let me know how you will carry all the spare batteries, how your digital processing and optics will cope with these "special" conditions? Don't you think your Digital camera would be OBSOLETE in such a situation?

Of course, F6 will not sell like a D70 or others; and I am aware film camera will die one day, but until a Digital can endure the same as a F5 or (I guess) a F6, there is still a place for such a camera. For this small (extra-small) market, F6 is not an OBSOLETE choice.

Brian Cincotta , October 23, 2004; 10:23 A.M.

I honestly feel film cameras will never die. They've got over a hundred years experience behind them, the images I have seen from film cameras are more contrasty and SHARP- and digital cannot even touch medium or large format cameras.

Randy Bone , October 24, 2004; 05:24 P.M.

I did a lot of reading before picking my new camera last year. One poster said you should never settle for an F100 if you really need an F5.

I decided that the F100 had everything I would ever need. Coming from an FM, I wondered if even the F100 was wasting money on features I would never use.

Now that I've had the F100 for a while, I really like having all these options available to me. I can see myself buying the F6 someday.

As far as the film vs. digital debates goes, I think that also boils down to the needs of the user. The fact that the snap-shot market is going digital doesn't have much of anything to do with people choosing high-end cameras. For myself, I like the idea that my negatives and prints will still be viewable long after I've turned to dust.

Andrew Dawson , October 24, 2004; 06:31 P.M.

Interesting that someone would bring digital audio into the debate, although I don't exactly agree with Andreas' interpretation. I've been working in pro audio for almost 20 years, and I see parallels with the evolution of digital imaging all the time. For example:

1) When digital audio came into use in the 80's, pro audio people were skeptical. It had some advantages, but the quality was definitely not as good as premium analog formats. It was recognized to be a good idea with exciting possibilites, but needed lots of improvement. Sound familiar?

2) It took about 15 years, but digital audio became the standard. Not because analog "sucked", but because the digital gear (and techniques for using it) improved immensely, and the advantages outweighed the quality of analog devices. This is esp. true in the post-recording phase, where digital workstations (i.e. ProTools) really rock. Ironically, many pro's still think some analog formats (such as Dolby SR) sound better, but hardly anyone bothers anymore.

3) The consumer audio world took a different path: CD's were widely embraced, and revitalized the record business. (We'll leave the debate about inflated CD prices for another time...) People recognized that an LP with a good turntable sounded "better", but convenience and portability won out. LP's never really had a serious "revival", but some purists always preferred them. This trend in consumer audio continued with MP3's and the new methods of distribution (legal and otherwise). MP3 is actually inferior to CD audio, but the convenience won out over quality. Sound familiar? Just substitute "digital camera" for CD and "film" for LP...

The lesson I learned from all this was: just don't be in a hurry to use the latest toy. The timeline for digital imaging will be faster than it was for audio, but the principle is the same. My "consumer" snapshot camera is digital, and I love the convenience of it. But I'm in no rush to give up film in the "pro" arena, when I know that in a few years digital will be better, faster, cheaper.

And if you think film is "dead", remember that there are situations today where analog audio *still* has advantages.

Andrew Robertson , October 25, 2004; 03:00 A.M.

To respond to Andrew Robertson 's comment with some absurd sense -and adding that I think digital is a facinating new way of taking pictures:

I guess you are using a digital camera so I have 3 questions for you:

I use several cameras. I use the Canon EOS 10D, an EOS 1n, a Contaflex, the Minox B and the Olympus XA mostly.

1. Do you think your Digital camera will not be osbsolete within the next 2 years, the computer you are using as well, the software, etc. ??? More than Probably, your camera even if it is like a D70, is already OBSOLETE. Digital is moving so fast... If we keep the example of a D70, will you still be admiring this camera in 5 years; I am sure no. So OBSOLETE is just a notion of time, but time goes by as well for digital equipment -even faster!

Looking at my kit, only one of my cameras is still available new. The utility of none of these instruments has been diminished by time or obsolescence. Parts are still available for the 1n and 10D. Parts are not available for any of the other models. They all shoot fine, though. I would attest that none are obsolete yet. Certainly the new 16.8 MP EOS 1Ds II would be nice, but I don't think my 10D is any shabbier for it existing! The 10D's quality level is high enough to rival film, and the utility and control of digital imaging is fantastic.

Let's define obsolete:

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913):

Obsolete, a. [L. obsoletus, p. p. of obsolescere. See Obsolescent.] 1. No longer in use; gone into disuse; disused; neglected; as, an obsolete word; an obsolete statute; -- applied chiefly to words, writings, or observances.

2. (Biol.) Not very distinct; obscure; rudimental; imperfectly developed; abortive.

Discontinued and obsolete are not the same thing. As long as my 10D serves me, I will continue to use it. I may purchase another DSLR in the future. Resolution is high enough that I can make nice 20x30 inch prints!

2. Do you think you will still be using your digital camera in +/-40 years, as people still do with a F or F2, or other brands ? I don't think so. So the F6 will probably be OBSOLETE in a few years (I hope at least 10) but then your actual digital camera will be far more (like a 100 times more) OBSOLETE.

The 10D has been bombproof for me (I've worn a lot of the paint off already) and the image quality is high. I'm sure there will be cameras out in a decade with much higher resolution and maybe wider dynamic range, but if the 10D continues to shoot, I can use it. If the prints look nice, what's the problem? Sure, I could get better resolution by upgrading to the 1Ds Mk III 35 MP camera, but then I could argue that the Nikon F is obsolete because medium format cameras can take a higher resolution picture.

3. Imagine you are doing a report for a magazine about the shepherds of central Turquey; there is no electricity and you will be shooting for at least 3 weeks; climatic conditions are "difficult" and you could change optics in a middle of a sandstorm; finally, as you are travelling light to follow the herds and men (bivouac with a solo tent), your camera will be enduring the same life as you do: will you go digital? If yes, let me know how you will carry all the spare batteries, how your digital processing and optics will cope with these "special" conditions? Don't you think your Digital camera would be OBSOLETE in such a situation?

I have backpacked for several days several times with my 10D. The first time I took the 1n along as well for backup, but now I would just use my wife's XA for that task IF the 10D failed. It hasn't. Carrying two batteries, turning off image review, and having the camera sleep after 1 minute of inactivity helped conserve enough power to last the whole time. I slept with the batteries to keep them warm at night. If I was to leave for weeks and follow around a group of nomads in the desert, I would probably bring one of those hard drive memory card readers, and a folding solar battery charger. Total weight for the devices would be less than three pounds, and it would be less bulky than a bunch of film! It IS doable. There are folks who have shot their digital cameras in Antarctica with success. Optics would cope the same way with a digital camera as they would film, for in fact both my EOS cameras use the same lenses. I definitely use the optional battery pack if shooting in arctic conditions, and have extra batteries on hand. But, the batteries in a film camera (or the meter of your Nikon F) run out after a while in the cold as well. I have shot the 10D in very cold conditions (below 0 Fahrenheit) and it worked great! I have also used the 10D in the desert, dunes, and on beaches with howling high-speed winds, and I changed lenses in my jacket! I try not to change lenses on either EOS camera that much if the wind is punishing, because sand will screw up digital or film cameras equally well!

Of course, F6 will not sell like a D70 or others; and I am aware film camera will die one day, but until a Digital can endure the same as a F5 or (I guess) a F6, there is still a place for such a camera. For this small (extra-small) market, F6 is not an OBSOLETE choice.

So, would you say that if and when the F7 comes out, the F6 is obsolete? Will the D3x obsolete the D2x? The F6 won't really be obsolete until people stop using it. I'm happy with all my cameras, and each one has been discontinued - some in favor of an improved version, some products terminated.

Lou Korell , October 26, 2004; 06:47 P.M.

I have had Nikon cameras for over 30 years. When you have that kind of "relationship" with a certain brand, you tend to be interested in all of their products. I don't think the film vs digital debate is worth having any longer. Digital cameras are quickly coming of age as very serious tools for the professional in all areas of photography. Correctly processed and printed images from either are virtually indestinguishable. That being said, I use digital professionally as well as film. I don't want to lose either. I still have fun with film. I don't think it will ever die. It will become more elite or eclectic perhaps but for historical and educational purposes film will be taught and practiced as an art form. Why do artists still paint when they can photograph? Why do musicians still play acoustic instruments when they can plug in their synthesizer? There are uniquenesses about the mediums and the tools that refuse to be replaced by more modern versions. I have FM2's an F3, and F4's that I still love to work with. But I also use medium format and digital. In fact all of my digital equipment is Canon. Love it! Will I buy an F6? Doubtful since I'm pretty well covered with the gear I have, but if I had the extra cash....absolutely. I've never been disappointed with Nikon film cameras in 30 years. The F6 will be another solid and very useful tool for film shooters everywhere.

Lou

Paulo Bizarro , October 30, 2004; 06:21 A.M.

I congratulate Nikon for releasing the F6. There is clearly a market for this camera: where can you find a cheap full-frame AND pro-spec'd SLR these days?

Believe me, with the digital "era", USD 2300 for a camera with these capabilities is CHEAP. And of course, it addresses the needs of Nikon users that have been waiting for a full-frame DSLR.

Me, my important images, I make them with film, I know that film lasts a while, and no one has proved that hard-disks, CDs, DVDs, whatnot, will last that long.

Carl Smith , October 30, 2004; 05:41 P.M.

At this point in time any major film camera developments seem silly. I don't care who brings it out, Canon, Nikon, Pentax etc. However I agree that this isn't so much meant to be a new big selling product, but it probably has been in development for a while (film transport components) and the rest of the components are just borrowed from the D2 series cameras so R&D probably wasn't huge. They're just trying to make their manufacturing jobs easier by unifying the high end product line.

Andrew Ginther , November 01, 2004; 03:45 A.M.

Film versus digital. Why this dualistic question? If not one then the other. Both have their strengths and weaknesess. Don't forget that film hasn't yet reached a dead end in it's product development cycle. Fuji always seem to be enhancing the quality of their colour film products, not withstanding their investment into digital. A couple of years ago I was teaching a college course in digital photographic imaging. That experience made me realise the lasting palce that film photography has and will continue to have. In fact I've since built my own black and white darkroom. On the F6 I think it was inevitable that Nikon would bring out the F6, they have a long tradition to maintain. Canon did themselves no favours by discontinuing the FD series of lenses (which I still use) but I won't go into that!

Johannes Bohnacker , November 09, 2004; 06:53 P.M.

What about the viewfinder magnification?

I appreciate the fact that Nikon supports film with new developments, and amongst these I prefer the FM3a. For taking slides of landscapes, for me there is nothing better than a manual-focus body with a standard split-image focusing screen and a viewfinder that is contrasty and has the necessary magnification to "feel like canvas" - not the feeling of looking at a stamp through a tunnel. Apart from the F6 being too bulky and in some parts maybe over-engineered for the purposes where I see a future for using (slide) film, the real "show stopper" for me is the viewfinder. While the availability of a full selection of focusing screens is great, it's viewfinder magnification is only 0.74 (acc. to the data sheet). This is, in my opinion, ridiculously low for a pro camera. I wear glasses and know about the limitations of some of the larger magnifications viewfinders in this respect. But when Minolta can create a viewfinder with an acceptable magnification in a "high eyepoint" configuration in the Dynax/Maxxum?7, why is Nikon not able to go above 0.74 with the F6? I know it has 100% coverage while the Minolta 7 hasn't, but that's no excuse, more than 0.74 should still be possible while retaining suitable eye relief.

Ilkka Nissila , November 11, 2004; 12:35 P.M.

Personally I think 0.7x is fine in a 24x36 mm camera and I would prefer more eye relief than the Nikons currently offer. My dream viewfinder is that in the F3HP - arguably a small image but very very nice viewing ergonomics and no trouble at all to focus with my eyes. However, with a DX format camera, the viewfinder magnifications needs to go up, something like 0.9x would be good.

Dan Lindsay , November 16, 2004; 01:24 A.M.

I've been a steady Nikon customer since 1970. I bought my first Nikon F then. I also have a ridiculously massive collection of Nikkor lenses because of this. Nikon presented the first real 'system' camera to the public. It was grabbed up by the professionals because of that system. I use motor drives (from the F36 through the MD-4 to the integral drive on the F5). I use interchangeable viewfinders, finding the action finders extremely useful in housings and in certain shooting situations. I consider a professional 'F' Nikon to have such features as an interchangeable finder, screens, drives, and take nearly every Nikkor lens they ever made. That is what a F series Nikon is. BUT, with the F6 they changed their formula. They decided that no one wants or needs mirror lockup (wrong!) or needs interchangeable viewfinders. While I don't appreciate the bulk of carrying two F5s around with me they have the features that I need and use. (I have owned every F except the F4). I would truly appreciate the F6 more if it had the interchangeable finders. I certainly don't need 8 fps so the F6 without some sort of MD booster is overkill, but I do appreciate the sizing down of the body. I think of the F6 as more of an F100 with updates. But, I think it will be a long while before I buy an F6. I truly feel the F5 was the pinnacle of film-cameras. The improvements to weather tightness are appreciated as are the improvements to the AFing, but what about that mirror lockup and the interchangeable finders? With those features I would have been very tempted by the F6. Without them I will continue to enjoy the F5. I doubt very much that this marks the end of production for the F5. It will continue to have a market segment. I still would vote for the F5 as one of the best SLRs ever produced, albeit with some 'issues' like power consumption.

Oleg Novikov , November 16, 2004; 07:54 A.M.

Dan,

The F6 DOES have mirror lock-up. Read the Manual here:

ftp://ftp.nikon-euro.com/Manuals/dGtUxUnN9l/F6-En_02.pdf

(FTP download, go to page 84, it says it all.)

Cheers, Oleg.

Alex von Tiesenhausen , November 17, 2004; 05:22 A.M.

Could this really be an SLR as quiet as a Leica M6? Weaving through the crowds without making a click may easily be worth $2300...

j k , November 18, 2004; 12:58 A.M.

all i know is the f6 is selling very well ..lots more people kinda like the "workflow" of film so to speak better than the workflow of digital

wyrd . , November 21, 2004; 03:22 P.M.

In response to Andrew Robertson (english is not my regular language) I say all the cd generation rock bands are crap I have a Technics mk2 and I listen exclusively to vynil because all the good rock music was only made for vinyl. What have we got today? A huge amount of commercial shit exclusively made by cd bands and very good rock music recorded from vinyl material.

who knows a single great rock band made of cd assholes?

A great rock band if necessery made of people who started on vynil.

Ii's the same for good old argentic photography and numeric bullshit !

Robert Gordon , November 23, 2004; 08:20 P.M.

I've been using Nikon reflex cameras since the mid-1960s. And, I've been using Leica M cameras since 1970. I quit the Nikon film cameras with the F4 since I moved to the Contax RX and its exquisite manual focus Zeiss lenses. The mechanical mounts on the Zeiss lenses are far superior to anything Nikon has ever made.

I do own a D100. For color prints the D100 is superior to any film/silver print technology I've used. However, for b/w images silver prints are still superior and my Leica M7 delivers consistently better quality than either my D100 or my Contax RX. So, it's unlikely the Nikon F6 will ever work its way into my bag.

Dillan Koropatnick , December 07, 2004; 12:43 A.M.

I'd like to make an observation which is sometimes overlooked by people who like to say that film is dead. Digital cameras aren't very good in cold weather. I live in Canada. It's below freezing for a good part of the year. It's -17 degrees C. outside right now! If I were to buy the most rugged digital camera made, arguably the Canon 1D Mark II, I'd find that it's not recommended that I use the camera in freezing temperatures. I own a Canon Elan 7. My manual states that I can use this camera in temperatures down to -20 degrees C. The only problem that I should encounter is decreased battery life. The Nikon F6 is built far more ruggedly than my Elan 7. If I were truly interested in a useful camera for all-weather use in a cold environment, I'd be silly not to consider it.

jukka vatanen , December 09, 2004; 03:09 A.M.

I am a pro in Finland, who shoots nature, magazine illustrations and sometimes fashion outdoors. I still have most of my Nikon gear: 2ea Nikon F from the seventies, Nikon F3 with HP & sports finders ( and a Forscher Polaback!)plus the F5. I use the F5 for most of my 35mm shooting except concerts where I use my Leica MP ( Serial No 302!) The F3 sits on a shelf most of the time but the two Fs are "winterized" all oil is removed from the shutter mechanism for very cold weather use (I dont use them in summer) I was getting worried as the F5, even if it is working flawlessly, is gaining some mileage, I bought it eight or nine years ago...! I think the release of the F6 is great news! It corrects some of the drawbacks of F5 ( noisy and the AF lock is terrible) I dont think a separate viewfinder is needed- there are interchangeable screens available. Now I dont have to look for a good F5 for backup.

What strikes me most that the comments didnt reflect the most obvious feature of the new F6: It is a perfect platform for the "truly pro grade" digital Nikon. 1) Good solid body, no wimpy plastics. 2) enough room for electronics,without a need for add-ons. 3) for photographers hating to learn ergonomics all over again: everything is logical, "like it used to be".

(Some editing did happen here!!)

Added comment on Wednesday 8th of december: Today I have seen and held the film camera I am using 10 years from now on: The very impressive Nikon F6 ! In addition to the numerous features listed on the preceeding feature list, the Nikon headquarters in Finland pointed out one that sure melted my heart for a pro nikon once again: In F6 you can store up parameters for ten different lenses for the Non AF- Non CPU, old, but extremely fine & reliable Pro lenses!! -Focal lenght & maximum aperture- WOW, here we go again with the unbeatable 28mm:2 , 50mm 1,2 and the best of them all: First series 105mm 2,5 Sonnar design short tele! Full matrix metering, full support to the multi flash technology, but of couse no autofocus. Jukka V

Paul Wilson , December 10, 2004; 11:20 A.M.

I think people are sort of missing Nikon's motivations behind this camera, or at least what they probably are. First off, I doubt it cost Nikon nearly as much to develop this camera as it did the F5. They already had the AF module because of the D2*. The film transport seems to be directly out of the F5. They already had the meter though it sounds like it was tweaked a bit. And maybe, just maybe, they needed a body that could handle what's needed to project a 24x36mm image and they'll be able to amortize those development costs over another model. Hmmmm....

Retro Man , December 10, 2004; 05:35 P.M.

Robert Gordon, I'd be happy to relieve you of the "exquisite" Contax lenses, those with the awesome mounts... And I'll take the RX off your hands as well, since your M7 takes better black-and-white photos than the RX ... I was wondering (and I am not being sarcastic at all) whether you have any idea how bizzare these statements sound to a photographer, and how downright disorienting they might be to someone who knows nothing about photo equipment and looks to photo.net for advice. With the advent of the lens mount adapters we can use, say, Leica R glass on a Canon EOS body; now we have ourselves a little paradox: a Canon taking better pictures than a Canon - unless it's Canon L lenses, in which case we have a Canon that takes pictures as good as any other Canon. Hmmmm ... All the equipment you own is capable of producing first-rate results, whether B&W or color. Oh, and speaking of the F6 - I bought it, and it is a great camera. It just feels right. I am happy Nikon is reversing the trend of making giant F series cameras, a trend that started with the F4. And as a testimonial to just how good the camera is: it makes images just as good as my old Nikkormat! Bravo, Nikon!

Y.M.I. SuchaLuddite , December 12, 2004; 09:46 P.M.

Thanks for the comments - they are enjoyable and informative. I especially appreciated the comments about using film for the important images; for images that weren't just ephemera.

I've been using manual SLRs since the late '60s. I, too, have had a hard time sorting out whether to come into the present-day of digital photography or wait it out. I think I've found the perfect happy medium and it has saved me a lot of money.

Yes, I've gone digital. I use my Canon S-50 5mp 'high-end consumer' digital camera for most of my pix. All the automation, including the autofocus, can be over-ridden - which satisfies my need for creative control. But I have kept the Nikon FM2n that (beside my wife & boys) has been my outdoor companion for the past 18 yrs, and I keep it close at hand, for the following reasons:

1) Sensible compromise: How many of you can honestly say that every picture they take is perfect? Nobody can! Accordingly, I use my digital for all my pictures. I can delete the clunkers and hang onto the keepers. And then, replicate (only) the keepers - and further explore the creative possibilities - with the FM2n and my assortment of lenses! This gives me the best of both worlds: My "keeper" photos have improved, I save on film yet I have instant gratification when I download the Canon to my laptop.

2) Equipment quality: Does ANYONE make gear as good as Nikon did in the 70s and 80s? Look at those AIS lenses, which were made for my FM2n. Built like TANKS. Yes, the optics are good in the current Nikon lenses but they aren't built the old way anymore: all metal, and the Nikkor 80-200mm F4 zoom can double as a hammer if you need one. (Yes I know the F6 is also a fine made-for-punishment instrument as well)

3) Planned Obsolescence: Now that my Canon S-50 has been superseded by the S-70 (and next year there'll be an S-something-else, no doubt), I can turn over my 'consumer' digital camera on eBay and get the latest for not many incremental dollars, but still enjoy my solid and dependable FM2n w/the Nikkor AIS lenses.

4) Save money on peripherals: I just bought a $400.00-plus 20mm F/2.8 Nikkor AIS lens for 168.00 on eBay. Last month, I bought a 500mm Reflex Nikkor "new type" (1980s) mirror lens that originally retailed for about $1,200 - for ~$260.00. The F/1.2 50mm for under 200 bucks - all in really great shape, no blemishes, etc. All those inaccessible lenses I used to salivate over (like looking at Playboys) are now within reach.

Yes, I know that I'm leaving this comment on the Nikon F6 page. I'm one of those 'serious amateur' photographers that shoots 'arty' pictures that don't need the instantaneous response of modern autofocus and autoexposure. So I don't really need the F6. For any readers contemplating an F6 or any up-to-the-minute film camera, I hope this doesn't wreck your fun!

Ilkka Nissila , December 18, 2004; 09:35 A.M.

I finally had a chance to play around with the F6. It is indeed quiet and the body has an excellent ergonomic design - the buttons are much better than those on the F5. The autofocus is amazing ! It's quiet even with non-AF-S Nikkors and firm. The focus points are well laid out - not too large gaps like in the digitals.

Jordan Viray , December 22, 2004; 07:35 A.M.

To respond to the comment about digital cameras in cold weather, most dSLRs work fine in very cold weather.

In fact, sensors typically benefit from lower temperatures (with lower noise) and the CCD sensors used in observatories are often cooled with liquid nitrogen. I've shot in -20F for extended periods of time with both film and digital. Some friends of mine with CMOS (I have a CCD) sensors have also done extended shooting in below freezing temperatures with good results. The only common complaints was that the LCD screens became sluggish and sometimes froze but they always returned to normal.

With film, the film can actually become brittle and break, something that has happened to me. Also, I've heard that film can build static charges which will occasionally discharge on film causing lightning patterns.

The biggest problem I would imagine with cold weather is battery life. This has never been a problem for me but I don't shoot with alkalines, and that is the battery type most likely to suffer. Nicads and Nickel Metal Hydrides are better and lithiums are supposed to be best at those temperatures. I use a battery back and keep it inside my parka and that takes care of that.

I think that the temperature ratings for the camera reflect the operating temperatures for storage media. Film works at just about any temperature whereas typical CompactFlash media are rated at 0C and up (although the industrial variants can operate far below freezing). FWIW, I use regular CF cards and even at -20F, they worked just fine but YMMV.

Robert Gordon , December 28, 2004; 08:55 A.M.

Retro Man,

I don't understand why you think my comments about my Leica M7 or Contax RX are "bizarre" or "disorienting". Most of the people who contribute to Photo.net threads are experienced photographers who would have no trouble at all relating to what I wrote comparing Nikon, Contax, and Leica M gear.

And, I plan to keep all my Contax/Zeiss gear for those situations that, in my view, require a film SLR camera.

Retro Man , December 30, 2004; 05:09 A.M.

Robert Gordon,

"I've been using Nikon reflex cameras since the mid-1960s. And, I've been using Leica M cameras since 1970. I quit the Nikon film cameras with the F4 since I moved to the Contax RX and its exquisite manual focus Zeiss lenses. The mechanical mounts on the Zeiss lenses are far superior to anything Nikon has ever made.

I do own a D100. For color prints the D100 is superior to any film/silver print technology I've used. However, for b/w images silver prints are still superior and my Leica M7 delivers consistently better quality than either my D100 or my Contax RX. So, it's unlikely the Nikon F6 will ever work its way into my bag. "

According to what you say in your post, you seem to no longer need the Contax, since:

a) your D100 is better for color prints, and b) your M7 is better for B+W

then you say that you'll keep the Contax gear "for those situations that, in my view, require a film SLR camera" ... you must mean black and white - but I thought the M7 had that covered .. or does the Contax shine when you cross-process slide film ? Of course photo.net has its regulars but many people do searches for equipment and end up reading photo.net, hoping to read some pertinent advice. Your post was pointless because not only did it not add any relevant information about the F6 but it added some really weird claims, one of which is simply untrue. The Contax mount is not stronger than the Nikon F mount. About the M7 taking "better" B+W pictures than a Contax ... we might as well be counting angels on a pinhead. You say, "Most of the people who contribute to Photo.net threads are experienced photographers who would have no trouble at all relating to what I wrote comparing Nikon, Contax, and Leica M gear". From one academic to another ... I just cannot let that little Argumentum Ad Populum slide, Dean. I have been teaching photography for two decades now and I am delusional enough to consider myself an experienced photographer - but I don't agree with you. I can tell you that I have seen about the same amount of terrible photography from Leica M cameras as I have seen from Pentax K-1000's or Canon/Nikon etc etc. In other words, the problem is to be found, consistently, behind the viewfinder - not in front of it. I hope this clears up what I meant. And if anyone reads this hoping to get some info on the F6, my advice is this: if you have the money and a compelling reason to own Nikon, by all means buy this camera. It is a fantastic machine, and it may be the last film F pro series camera made by Nikon if digital continues its onslaught. You'll own a piece of history if that's the case. If not, no problem - you can console yourself with the fact that in 2006, aside from taking "better" pictures than Robert's D300, it will be worth about twice as much.

Loren Eidahl , January 01, 2005; 12:44 A.M.

I can see a point at which I would buy a couple of F6's though I already own a D2h and am planning on getting a D2x. Reason - The interface is the same on the F6 as by D2

The F6 does have a number of things going for it that the digitals I have dont - It wont become obsolete in two-three years for one.

An earlier discussion was going on about the quality of Analog Audio vs. Digital Audio and how that correlates to Film vs. Digital.

Heres my take on that -- I shoot Rock Concerts. You would be suprised at the number of Rock Guitar Artists that use tube amplifiers on the Professional Circuit. The reason is the unique quality of sound generated is why many artists make the choice to buy NEW tube amps.

Film will never die - it will be at worst a niche product. However for those people who wish to separate themselves from the herd - film will provide an avenue to do that ( much like tube amps for musicians) If you value your craft and your art , dont you owe it to yourselves to choose the best tool possible to communicate your vison.

Which is why I have Nikon F2,F3 because I can do things with them that allow me to create images that dont look like everybody else's digital looking images - which makes me for MONEY!!!

Robert Gordon , January 04, 2005; 09:54 A.M.

Retro Man,

The point I was making is not that the bayonet mounts on Zeiss lenses for Contax cameras are superior to the others but that the focusing mounts are.

Lex Jenkins , January 07, 2005; 01:04 A.M.

There's certainly a market for high priced film cameras. One look at Leica's offerings proves that. Steve McCurry has said he'll keep using film SLRs as long as they're available (tho' he currently uses the F100).

I don't think Nikonistas are as likely to regard the latest and greatest model as a fashion or lifestyle accessory quite as readily as Leicaphiles, tho'. We'll see how that impacts F6 sales.

Meanwhile I'm more interested in waiting for Ellis Vener's hands-on review of the F6 than a bunch of speculation.

walt darson , March 02, 2005; 02:10 A.M.

to Jordan Viray's comments about cold-weather shooting i'd just add that another major consideration with regard to cold weather shooting is actually what you do when the shooting's done: whether shooting film or digital (but perhaps moreso digital with its delicate sensors), the way you reintroduce your camera to warm surroundings is of the greatest importance. i'd go into particulars, but rather than duplicate information that's already available elsewhere online, i think i'll just pass along this link. happy shooting!

Kevin McCarthy , March 10, 2005; 04:58 A.M.

I really like this camera and hope to check one out in the flesh soon. I never bought the F4/F5 because they were just too big. I like the improvments I see, especially the reduction in sound and vibration. Some people have said that a Leica M can be handheld down to 1/15 due to their smoothness. Is this camera smooth enough to do that too? That would be something with a Noct lens on it. I buy equipment and keep it for years. My main shooter for the last 10 years is a beautiful F2. I have often considered jumping on the latest F or buying a Leica but always held back as for me, the F2 still makes it happen. I have also had a Nikon 900 and 990 (both broken after babying them too). Digital moves so quickly now that unless you are a pro photographer I can't see spending 5k on a D2X. Sometimes my camera sits in the drawer for a long time. In 20 years will the latest digital camera still make it happen? I think the F6 will. I travel alot to foreign countries in austere conditions too and I like the F6's specs. Is it also too much of a dream to imagine a day within the next 10 years where there will be a digital adapter back for the F6? I think that's very doable. I loudly applaud Nikon for making the F6 and will definatly be looking to buy one. I can always have a cheaper digital to throw away every year as that technology moves along, but the F6 is forever baby.

James B Cooper , March 20, 2005; 09:26 P.M.

Nikon F6 is missing the Titanium prism cover ! The F5 has the Titanium metal on top. Very important and is overlooked by everyone. That is highly significant negative development. Yeah, electronics tweaking but the durability has been compromised in F6. I want the titanium cover back. Also read the Nikon comment on camera durability "The F6?s astonishing reliability is a function of our right material for the right place? . Right material for the right place ? Hmm . We will put something that works but not something that is best to save money. Is that what happened to Titanium ? Yeah, they changed Titanium to the silly aluminum/magnesium alloy junk on the prism. Some pros should know that prisms are easy to damage and the Titanium on F5 was a great decision.

Byron Hamilton , March 21, 2005; 06:48 P.M.

People who think film is dead simply do not have a clue. The best way to get a digital image is to shoot film and scan it. With 35mm film scanned on my Super Coolscan 9000, the images that result will blow away anything taken with any digital camera out there. When I scan my medium format chromes, the results are awesome. Far beyond anything any current digital camera can produce. Digital still has a long way to go before it can match film.

By the way, how do you project a digital image on the wall at about 6 feet across without having it look like garbage?

Nikon's decision to release the F6, along with the rangefinder SP cameras is a pretty classy move by Nikon. I want one.

Long live Nikon!

Byron Hamilton , March 26, 2005; 08:13 P.M.

Well of course they would. I have compared both, printed on a variety of printers, including dye-sub printer, and printed professionally. And I still disagree. Digital cameras have serious problems with highlights, and just about all consumer digital cameras produce images using interpolated pixels, unlike a film scan which produces a true RGB pixel.

I have a friend with a D2X, and have starting shooting with him on swamp runs and bird watching trips. I hope to post some of this soon. The D2X is a fantastic machine, capable of stunning imagery. My scans from my Nikon Coolscan IV, scanned at 2900 DPI, if the original is well-exposed and in good focus, compare favorably to his images with the D2X. I have not made comparasons when scanning at 4000 DPI.

It is a lot more work to do it this way for sure, there is no "instant gratification".

Just a different way of doing things, I guess.

Ruslan Lavrentyev , April 11, 2005; 04:07 A.M.

To James B. Cooper - Yes, titanium alloy has higher tensile strength (1000 mPa), but magnesium alloys are as strong (300-400 mPa) as copper - silumin alloys (338 mPa, used in FM2 and FM3a) but we consider FM2 rugged...And it depends on wall thickness...They should have made F6's back optional. Under rugged conditions LCD panel can be broken... Titanium alloys are more expensive(FM2/T was twice more expensive, than FM2). I love film cameras, because I do not want to clean the sensor, get batteries empty soon and shoot from AC outlet. Li-ion battaries get dead suddenly after 3-4 years, (it may happen on a wedding shooting - I have such experience).

Bob Cook , April 27, 2005; 01:26 P.M.

I just ordered a new F6 to replace my F4. Since it offers full matrix metering with AI/AIS lenses in a smaller, more modern package it was an easy decision. I also own a D100 and think it's great - I just don't like messing around with the "digital workflow." What I do like is spreading out a box of 36 transparencies on my light table and getting a chance to review all of the images together. I do the same with the 12 transparencies from the rolls I shoot in my Mamiya 6. For me, it is not that digital is "worse" or "better." It is that the whole experience with film is more enjoyable for me.

Hugo Martínez - Burgos , April 28, 2005; 07:19 P.M.


Nikon F6 Obsolete? Who will want to use an 8 mega-pixel DSLR in 2 or 3 years? But... how many of you are looking for a Nikon FM2 or a Olympus OM3? If "obsolete" means using the highest technology available for the most advanced colour processors (the film), ok! I am a Canon film-EOS user, and I feel a little bit neglected. If I can buy this machine, it would be my eternal partner!

Kevin Christopher Shale , May 04, 2005; 09:02 A.M.

What good is your superb digital photograph when you cannot legally prove that you are the image owner without taking additional and unnecessary computer-related steps? Ever hear of a copyright? A negative gives you this without any work at all. All of us should be using film cameras exclusively because film + development is cheaper, stable, copyright-protected and instantaneously archived at full resolution. If you need digital images, have your professional lab scan your negs or do it yourself. By all means, buy the F6 if you like it and can take better pictures with it. Forget digital, it is a complete waste of time and money. Digital is especially annoying when snapshooting people because they usually take control of your camera. Serious digital photographers have already begun archiving their RAW images onto film. How do you know if a digital image should be deleted now? Maybe it becomes a work of art in PS later on!

nate simms , February 08, 2006; 11:44 A.M.

Digital has it's place and for certain applications, it is the obvious choice, but some people need to slow down. I carry a digital point and shoot in my jacket pocket at all times and it has been a great opportunity to take a picture of anything at any time. I love it. But when I shoot landscapes, where the quality of the image is everything, it just doesn't make sense for me to shoot digital. There is a reason nearly ALL professional landscape photographers still use film. There is a reason why, despite the magazines' nearly total digital focus, Outdoor Photographer's "Showcase" shots are still coming from film. When the professional digital camera that produces an equivalent image to the f6 comes along for the same price, let me know.

WJ Lee , April 19, 2006; 10:52 A.M.

Who knows, 20 years down the line some crazy people will succeed in making a "Digital Film", there have been attemps already but becaused of the lack of technology and cost factors involved, it was doomed to fail. But in 20 years time that won't be the case. Simple film like device you put it in your film camera and it will turn every 35mm camera into a digital! There is life after all for all those secondhand camera in the camera shops :D!

D C , April 28, 2006; 01:36 P.M.

Totally agreed with Nate Simms. I own my first Nikon F2 20 year ago, and switched to digital by Canon EOS 1Ds, then EOS 1Ds MK2, and finally end-up to Nikon D2X. But always feel missing something in the picture (some nature contrast), until I got the F6, it totally relief me. And now I only use my F6, the D2X just as a back-up.

Raymond Tai , September 12, 2006; 10:38 P.M.

My last Nikon was an F100 but then switched to EOS due to digital. Digital may be right for many but I still prefer film. I just got an F6 and it an absolute marvel. Much better than the F100. If this is the last film body from Nikon then I can think of a better way to end its film legacy.

Benny Spinoza , January 26, 2007; 01:10 A.M.

I kept my Nikon FM for over 25 years, and I thought it was time to get a new 35mm camera. My motto used to be: "I'll never buy one of those dang, automatic focus, new-fangled cameras." But when I read the specs for the F6, I was intrigued. I ordered the camera without ever actually holding it! (I figured I would probably have to drive over 2.5 hours to find a camera store that might stock the F6.) Well, I'm thrilled with the camera. All I can say is that I feel like I've moved from the stone-age to the space-age in one step. This camera is extremely ergonomically friendly. It is of the highest build quality. Buy it if you love film, and want a camera to keep for a long time. My plan is to keep this baby for as long as they make film!

Luca Stramare , February 03, 2007; 11:40 A.M.

To be honest, I do not understand people throwing flames at the F6 because it is film and not digital. I am a die-hard film camera user, i.e. I plan to go on shoting Velvia as long as I can find it on the shelves of my favourite photo store and as long as I will have a good lab develping it. I do not blame digital and I do not want to prove that film is better. Simply put, for the way I take pictures, use them, file them and store them, to me, Velvia and Provia are still my way. Other people may have different views and for them digital may be a far better choice. But I see no reason why my choice (or somebody else's choice) must be THE choice and that I must convince that there are only two choices in the world: mine and the wrong one. If I don't like something, I simply don't buy it. Said this, I appreciate that Nikon is still offering the possibility to buy a state-of-the-art film camera. I appreciate the fact that I can choose between film and digital without being forced to revert to the used market to get film stuff. Maybe for me the F6 is too much (I just bought a used F100 to pair my FM2), but, who knows. At least it is out there...

William Kazak , February 09, 2007; 04:23 P.M.

I purchased the F6 almost two years ago when I got the chance. Calumet Camera was having a credit card promo. I also bought a used mint 180mm F2.8 AFD at the same time. What a beautiful day that was. I had to laugh at some of the remarks here about the F6 because unless you put one into your hands and use it, you will not realize how very special this camera really is. The cam 2000 AF is so great that I can just point and shoot. I love the relatively small size. I finally found re-chargable cr120a batteries and chargers on eBay. That makes me very happy. I also bought the grip because it takes AA batteries but I don't need it. I used to have apair of F3's. I got sick of the 1/60 flash sync and removable prisms just let the dirt in, although I did finally replace one finder that I bent out of shape from tripping over my pc cord when I was using a studio strobe at a wedding reception. I love film and I love my F6. It is the epitome of the classic F lineup. I also have a pair of F100 film bodies. After using the F6, I don't really need them anymore except for backups or for shooting color and B&W on the same job. They were only $300 each in mint condition. I remember looking at them new at Helix in Chicago at $1,200. They take AA batteries, which I like and are very nice cameras. Much better than my old F3's which I was happy to sell and get into AF. Why debate film vs. digital? They have their places. I can see how the quality of an F6 can be comforting to the user and then it makes them try the D2xs for the cam 2000 focusing. So, that is a smart move by Nikon to get us used to the best quality products. There is no going back for me to old F3's for some kind of nostalgia. I have to add that I use a pair of D70s cameras. They are very nice for what I use them for; the beach and for weddings. Battery life is fantastic. The rapid burst ability means that they keep up with the action for me (unlike Fuji). I can get a seagull in flight or a bride getting out of the car. When it is time to move up in digital, I will certainly bypass the D200 because I am now sold on cam 2000 AF thanks to my F6.

Nick Nikolaev , February 19, 2007; 01:45 P.M.

The funny thing is, when i finally decided to buy a digital camera(Nikon D70s), it also went obsolete, but i wasnt much upset. Most of the time the camera rests in the coffer, while my F6 forgot about vacation for good, and i am really happy to own this masterpiece of photoengineering! The good thing about analog cameras - the word "obsolence" comformably to them is close to nonsense, and after 2 years of tuff use the F6 is as good as new, in every way. Not to mention the superior image quality of a color reversal... Nighty-night, D70s!

Jose Mario Valdes , March 01, 2007; 01:37 P.M.

The Nikon F6; with out a question the BEST 35mm professional camera today, I own a leica R8, pentad 5N and more; none come close to the F6 quality on workmanship and picture quality is superb. As many have mentioned before me it will not go obsolete in a few months it is a work horse and will be there for a while.

Alan Krell , May 01, 2007; 02:05 A.M.

Hello folks! Just joined your informative little website in order to add to the fray on the F6. In 2002 I did a round the world trip backpacking to shoot "Daily Life" as I saw it. I took one of my trusty F5s, a 17-35, 80-200, and one flash. I traveled for almost a year and shot 13,000 pictures. I love the F5, but it did have some terribly annoying design faults I hated. 1) Focus Area High Lite in the finder shows up as a darker target area rather than like Canons LED bright red. 2) Those damned removable finders that in my opinion, compromised the camera's water/weatherproofing integrity. Not to mention the constant dirt dust in the finder, that no matter how much you cleaned, was never completely dust free. When in the highlands of Vietnam, I got caught in a monsoon with an umbrella, the rain was coming down that heavily, that it litteraly penetrated the umbrella fabric like bullets and flooded the F5. Camera dead. Out comes the Leica M6 until I could get the F5 repaired in Australia some months later.... to the tune of $800.00 US. Now, the F6. All my gripes have been addressed. A sealed unit. Bright finder with LED target light up areas. Thank God. This is not a film version of a D2 series camera, I can assure you. Nikon don't do that. This is another Giugiaro special from scratch. The man knows what he is doing. It really is the hight of SLR engineering and I treasure mine. I have not owned a digital camera body yet, and love film. There is something tangible and permanent about a film strip or image. Something natural and more detailed about a great picture on slide. Digital has its place, but for me, long live film and long live the Nikon F6.

Image Attachment: Saigon Paddi Fields 1.jpg

Brian Cincotta , May 13, 2007; 11:32 A.M.

Why are you comparing the F5 to a Canon camera? Can't really compare different brands. I shoot with Canon equipment now, but used the f5 for numerous years. It's an incredible camera. There was nothing I disliked about it.

Nigel S. Lee , November 18, 2007; 08:56 A.M.

For anyone who has ever used FILM, it is not surprising that Nikon is continuing to improve the design of its film based cameras. I shoot 35mm film and am able to have my miniature 36mm x 24mm frames scanned at 'Super High Resolution' to about 40-55 Mega Pixels (YES - THAT'S FORTY to FIFTY-FIVE MEGA PIXELS). This gives me a very high quality digital file, suitable for manipulation and enhancement, that is far superior to anything the latest digital cameras can offer. Let's admit it, digital technology is good, but it must be remembered that film has been 'in the making' now for around 150 YEARS, which means that it's probably now as good as it gets. In another 150 years from now (if we're still around), digital capture may well be as good... but for the moment though it ain't - and people all around the world, would do well to heed the addage - 'never trust anyone who's trying to sell you something'. Meanwhile, the Nikon F6 should be embraced as the pinnacle of film camera design; and used to exploit the beauty and quality of film.

Duncan Murray , June 01, 2008; 05:15 P.M.

Thank you for the review.

I thought I'd write a spot for anyone thinking of purchasing a Nikon F6 at the moment.

A couple months ago my Pentax LX decided to freeze up (admittedly after I dropped it from waist-height), and I thought now was the time to get a new camera. The Pentax LX is a fantastic camera, and excels in night photography and even candids (with it's 'liveview'), but some of my photographs were technically failing in exposure, and sometimes focus. The main drawback was the lack of a spot meter, and af when I needed to shoot quickly.

My buying requirements were : new, spot meter, af, fullframe and IQ as the most important factors.

The left me with: Canon 5D, Canon 1V, 1Ds, nikon D3, pentax PZ1P, Mz-S.

The Canon 5D was probably the stiffest competition. However, it just didn't feel pro enough (apologies to all 5d owners), I especially didn't like the mode dial. The 1V was better, but still didn't feel quite as good to use as the Nikon F100/F5/F6 cameras. In Canon's favour the USM prime lenses are something the Nikon's missing, on the other hand Canon don't have the 14-24/2.8.

1Ds and D3 were big and expensive.

Pz-1p and mz-s are nice cameras, and I might have got the 31/1.8, 43/1.9 and 77/1.8 with them. But I'm a bit fed-up of second hand equipment!

In the end the F6 was the answer, and it performed impeccably on a recent trip to europe. The hit rate was painfully high requiring a lot of scan time (I'm still doing it!).

IQ-wise I think that 35mm colour slide and neg film still has the edge over most digital. A 30x20" print reminds me of what film is capable of. I like the way film is almost free of artefacts, high resolution, texture and tonality.

So is it the camera for you? If you want a pro body, high IQ with excellent metering and autofocus, then the F6 might be for you. I think you would have to feel confident in shooting without an immediate review, and also have access to a good scanner. I'm using an epson 4990 with vuescan, and learning how to make the most of it is also an art. It's also only useful for small prints and web-size images and takes a long time.

However, at the end of the day I know I have a pile of slides that should I wish to do something special with, I know it's capable of giving me great prints.

P. B. , June 17, 2008; 03:12 P.M.

Finally, for the first time in Nikon history, Nikon has provided a film camera with the 5 things I need: (1) High-eyepoint viewfinder, (2) Spot metering, (3) +/- 3 stops exposure meter in the viewfinder, (4) Shutter speed adjustable in 1/3 stops. I would like 1/2 stops also like the F100 has, but I guess Nikon always leaves something out so you will buy the next version. (5) Matrix metering with MF AI/AIS lenses. Why did it take so long ?

Paul A. - Los Angeles, CA. , October 03, 2008; 09:58 P.M.

I have a 50mm/1.4 Zeiss Planar on my F6 and love it. The cam is much smaller, lighter and quiet than my F5. The F6 gives me a break from my Leica analogs.

John Crane , November 18, 2008; 01:08 A.M.


Nikon F6 with MB-D10 grip and 50mm f1.4 Nikkor lens. Utter bliss for the film shooter.

(the note beneath the picture should say MB-40 grip, not MB-D10 grip...). If you're not a Nikon shooter, nothing I say will mean anything to you. If you're still stuck in the film vs. digital debate, just move on and don't bother reading the rest of this post.

I took delivery of my F6 in August of 2008 and have run 30 or 40 rolls of film through it since (now November). What a wonderful camera. Having the F4S, F5 and now the F6, there is no doubt the F6 is a breakthrough camera. It combines many of the same refinements found on the modern digicams into a film-receiving body and the result is, hands down, my favorite camera (film or digital) to shoot. Menus are easy to navigate, it's ultra quiet, ultra rugged, stout, refined, useable.

It's difficult to explain to others that intangible of holding something of such refinement, but it's truly there in the F6. Every nook and cranny of the surface is sculpted, rounded, well-executed, friendly, form-fitting, just lovely to touch.

Getting into a film vs. digital debate is pointless. I shoot both and love the F6. The sensor will never go bad, be outdated, need cleaning, get scratched, or develop bad pixels and the camera will almost surely never run out of batteries or freeze in cold weather. It's reliable in pouring rain and snow, has CLS support and takes every lens Nikon has ever made.

This film camera has heart enough to last a lifetime of heavy, reliable use and is my new best friend. It goes everywhere with me. If you're a Nikon shooter and have been on the fence about this machine, just get one. You won't regret it. They probably won't be around forever. My 7-digit serial number has 2 leading zeros. All my other Nikon film cameras have 7-digit serial numbers beginning in the 2's and 3's. Here, 4 years into the production cycle they're only at 30,000, suggesting to me they'd anticipated a larger production run then they're actually likely to complete. That's only speculation.

This is a camera worthy of being passed on from generation to generation and I dearly love mine.

Joe Grodis , November 19, 2008; 03:22 P.M.

The F6 is a machine of a dream. I use the Nikon F3, F4, and F5 so it's only natural for me to want an F6. Nothing better than a Nikon F series camera that seem to last several lifetimes. DSLR's come and go but my Nikon F's keep on ticking year after year after year, a "True" investment.

-Joe

William Kazak , February 12, 2009; 12:12 A.M.

I purchased the F6 a few years ago. Using it is a breeze coming from a pair of F3's. I had to sell my F100's after getting the F6. The quality level and feel was just too great, making the F100 seem pathetic in comparison. The F6 is just so great, everything works as it should. The AF is really nice. I bought the grip in order to use AA cells.

Pankaj Purohit , April 11, 2009; 05:58 A.M.

I am an amature level photographer and not earn from photography. I am using a tinny F75, But whenever I will start earning from photography, my first upgrade would be an F6.

Guri Singh , April 13, 2009; 04:05 A.M.

I took up photography "only" 10 years ago. First camera was Olympus C5050 (P&S). Then I got a Cannon Rebel XT, took things to a new level. Then I held a D200 when it came out and had to have it, made the Rebel feel toy-like in my large male hands. D200 was my first camera that actually gave some operational pleasure and pride of ownership just from better build quality, ergonomics and controls. The Fuji S5 came next, did a magnificent job on high-contrast small metal products (much of my "important" work) compared to the D200. The S5 still trounces any digital solution I've tried in this regard as long as small file size is acceptable (it is for me, most "important" product shots end up on web). I tried and returned a D3 and I also demo'd a Phase One back on a Hasselblad whatever...very cool but inaccessible to me and honestly did not exceed the S5 for web pics with great easy-to-achieve colors/tone/DR. Then came the need for larger files and nice big prints for tradeshow materials and home art. Long story short: I added film to my kit in the form of a Mamiya 6x7 and a CoolScan 9000...trounced everything including the D3, and I re-state that I used a CoolScan...not even drum scanning. Alot cheaper too. So I have this decent desktop scanner, am thrilled with the results I'm getting from film when I'm after maximum image quality and big files, and start to wonder about 35mm. As you all know by now, "researching" 35mm film vs. top-end digital is a waste of life and brain cells, so I figured "screw it, DIY". Bought "the best of the best" by many accounts, a like-new used F6 for a colossal $1K.

Summary: I'm one of a growing number of apparently confused shooters who started with and embraced digital and who now prefer film (whenever the task allows it) based on our own damn results. "Going digital" is now a cliche, well guess what! OK, so my entire work flow is "digital" except for the sensor. This even applies to my "mechanical" RZ67, which is really piloted and made practical by a most-digital Sekonic light meter. The F6 is itself of course highly "digital", and to great effect: it's difficult to take a technically bad shot with the F6. The F6 answers almost every criticism of shooting 35mm SLRs. "Slide film is too unforgiving." Read up on basic metering techniques and try the F6. I'm serious. This camera puts the lid on exposure concerns. The new advanced shutter system and latest generation metering surely have something to do with it. "I prefer Leica rangefinders because they are small and quiet and well-made". Try the F6. Hold it and fire it. It's alot smaller and quieter than F4/F5. Not "silent" (marketing bull), but I think if you are open-minded you will find that the stealth difference between an M7 and F6 really isn't huge. "Changing film is a hassle". I've done it drunk and in the dark with no problem. DX reader (digital, see?) sets ISO for you. You can even change films mid-roll, just write down (if you're drunk) what frame you left off at. "Shooting film is too expensive." I've lost $2K reselling my consumer-grade digital cameras. I can sell my pro-quality F6 right now for $200 more than I paid for it. Cards aren't free, battery packs are special and expensive, sensors need cleaning and on and on. My F6 is usually loaded with the cheapest film I can get: Superia 400 from Costco, $0.86/roll in bulk, $1.33/roll in 5-packs. I have it processed at Costco too, $1.39/roll. Scan on my CoolScan, Costco scanning is good but not great. I usually have the cheapest lens available also mounted: the plastic Made in China 50mm/f1.8, it's killer! Even this bottom-of-the-barrel approach yields results that I would have been hard-pressed to get with my D200 (no contest for colors and tones, D200 does have finer resolution but who cares?), and that my S5 can't match on anything over a 5x7 print. For "serious" stills, Astia 100, a tripod and my local pro lab take me well past anything I've ever produced from 6-12MP DSLR RAW files. Maybe my experience is due to the fact that I hate PS and am certainly no expert at it. But I think I have mastered NX2, which I really like. Ultimate IQ debate aside, here's the thing about the F6: it respects and addresses the things that I value the most better than any other camera I've tried: namely TIME, FREEDOM, and PLEASURE. The F6 doesn't waste my time with bad shots (focus, exposure) and lots of PP. The F6 is always ready to go, regardless of conditions and even if it's been stuffed in my pack or glove compartment for weeks (batteries are $0.99ea. at Battery Junction). The F6 is an ergonomic joy to hold and operate. When I shoot my other cameras, I'm working and wish to be done ASAP. When I shoot my F6, I'm usually traveling or goofing off and my tail is wagging, especially when armed with low-stress Costco 400! If my F6 gets lost, stolen or confiscated I'll go to eBay and buy another one cheap from some fool "going 100% digital". I LOVE this camera. It is my favorite by far. It makes photography fun. A final note: The Nikon MV-1 reader has got to provide the ultimate fast-track to film shooting expertise for any disciplined and dedicated newbie. I know I should get one and use it, haven't yet.

Will Murray , May 08, 2009; 11:04 P.M.

Firstly I would like to point out that the Nikon F6 is a magnificent piece of engineering, and if I was in the market for a top of the line film camera I would certainly purchase one without hesitation.

I have to confess to reading many of the contributions on this thread with dismay. Who cares if a camera is digital or film, truly the only thing that matters is the final printed image and the viewers reaction to it. In regards to my own equipment I own (and shoot on every one) an Olympus FE 320, Nikon D80, a Agfa super sillette a Kokak Retina IIIc (both made in the 1950's), a Nikon F3, a Nikon FM2n, a Linhof Technica IV and a Rolleiflex c1938. This last goes to the the heart of durability and obsolescence. I do question how many digital cameras will be functional in 80+ years.

SD Woods , October 17, 2009; 12:44 P.M.

Film based? Does that mean it does digital on the weekends?

Duncan Murray , June 22, 2010; 07:47 P.M.

Just a quick update on my Nikon F6 ownership:

 

Have had the camera for over two years now.  it is still performing flawlessly.  The multisegment matrix metering will always give reasonable results, but often not the exposure I would have chosen (i.e. it can't read your mind!).  I find centre-weighted the most practical choice.

 

The focusing is excellent, it is both fast and precise.  Compared to other cameras I have tried, it excels at low light (using primes).  I have it configured to switch on AF only when AF-ON is pressed.  It is fiddly changing from AF to MF, consider the G and AF-S lenses.  The most useful focussing setting for me is the group autofocus - very useful for portraits and most others, particularly if there are foreground objects you need to avoid.  The rear-controller allows for fast selection of the 5 groups, and the default 'closest' priority allows fast and reliable AF as 4 points work together.  I keep the pattern on default.  The active focus-tracking mode is incredible at keeping track of fast subjects moving quickly in and out of other distracting objects.

The extra function button, I find, is useless on the bottom due to the position.  I find Nikon's reverse direction with the control dials irritating.  You can reverse them in the menu's, but it isn't ideal as it reverses the whole function of the wheel.  Another niggle is the rubber surround round AF-ON is coming off.

 

But these are niggles.  It's still supreme!

And now that I find NCPS does excellent colour-balanced medium-res scans, I'm happy!

Christian Becker , July 14, 2011; 08:38 A.M.

Surprisingly an F5 review is still missing.


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