The magnificent, if a little heavy, Nikon F5
The Nikon F5, introduced in 1996, was the next step in the evolution of the F series of cameras after the F4. And this camera really did mark an evolution in the series. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, this camera bought a new range of features to the Nikon stable, including a super fast 1/8000th shutter speed, colour matrix metering, 5 point autofocus, VR compatability and 8 frames per second! Yeah, 8 frames. The damn thing sounds like a machine gun.
For many purists this camera represents the final example of a professional film SLR from Nikon, after 2002 this camera ceased production and Nikon pushed further forward into the digital market.
But what a swansong. This beast of a camera really made you realize what a professional camera was capable of. It was fast, smooth and completely reliable. And tough, by god is it tough, but then it does weigh about as much as three well fed badgers, or a small pony. Dust and rain sealed, this camera was designed specifically with the professional in mind, and was able to put up with some severe punishment. There are rumors abound of 1 million cycle shutter actions, which is insane by any standards.
One of the best things about this camera is that it works with pretty much every Nikon SLR lens, well within reason of course. The modern lenses are no problem, even back to the Ai lenses. Pre Ai lenses may need some modification and of course the meter will not work, but they will fit the bayonet. That is an absolutely massive range of lenses available.
Of course there are some drawbacks to this camera. It is a hungry beast, as in it really chews through the batteries, so it might be an idea to have a re-charging unit available. Oh and did I mention that it is heavy? Yeah, 1.2kg heavy. But despite its weight it really feels comfortable in the hand. This camera is so well designed that it feels more comfortable than some of the new DSLR cameras. In fact, the D1 was basically an F5 with the digital gubbins stuffed inside. And you can really feel the build quality when it is in your hand, there are no loose parts, no rattles or squeaks, it just feels as if it were hewn from steel in the centre of a volcano, by dwarfs…or something.
It is a wonderfully pretty and very capable camera, with solid build and long life reliability. The internals hold legendary status amongst professionals for being able to run forever. The shutter action is not coupled to the main chassis of the camera, which means that recoil and shake is reduced.
One of my favorite things about this camera though is the shutter itself. The sound is amazing, so precise and conforting, it is exactly what you want a camera shutter to sound like.
The prices for this camera have dropped considerably since the introduction of digital SLR cameras, which means that you can get them for a great price now.
This particular camera in the pictures is for sale. Come and see it on ebay or contact me directly about it.
When using non-CPU lenses the spot and center weighted meter options are available but no 3D matrix.