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Old Aug 18, 11, 12:55 pm   #1
 
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Nikon F5?

For those which still shoot film, what are you thoughts on a used F5? They are priced reasonably on eBay and I'm considering purchasing one.

My questions are as follows:

Is there a way to personally scan negatives to a digital format quickly and easily with a relatively small machine? Cost?

Is the F5's performance for the cost worth having to digitize the film?

What's the most you would pay for an F5?

As far as my shooting, I'm a casual guy. The general travel, AC spotting, etc would be my thing. I am not a professional but would prefer a quick shutter speed.
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Old Aug 18, 11, 2:10 pm   #2
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I picked one up on ebay for about $600 a few years ago, and quickly sold it (for a slight profit) after I concluded that the idea you suggest was, frankly, vastly impractical compared to a good DSLR like a D300 or D700. If I was going to get one nowadays, I'd expect to pay $300-400 for the body with prism finder, depending on the condition - for $400, you can get an Ex+/Near Mint body, for $300, a solid VG/VG+ user body

The things are ergonomic beasts. I already knew that, since I already owned and still own a Kodak DCS760, which is basically a very nice 6 MP sensor built into an F5 body. I might suggest that you can get those REALLY cheap on ebay as well. It was the state of the art DSLR about 10-12 years ago, and at the time, they cost over $10K, now, for sure, you can get one with the entire kit (incl. charger and batteries) for well under $500. They are so bulky that they are really only good for use on a tripod, in a studio - for field use, a modern DSLR in the $500-1000 range is far better nowadays. But the image quality is still the best you can get from a 6 Megapixel sensor.

In short, been there, done that. For slightly more cash nowadays, I'd get a D90 - or if you really want a pro-class body, I'd spring for a D700. The modern DSLRs are so much more practical if a digital file is the end product that it's not even funny.
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Old Aug 18, 11, 3:01 pm   #3
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Total agree. Get one if you want to shoot film and develop pictures direct from them. Digitalizing is highly impractical.
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Old Aug 18, 11, 6:28 pm   #4
 
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Thanks DJGMaster1 and rkkwan. I must say, the pricing on the used F5's are very enticing, however I will look into a DSLR. Will start with the D90 and go from there.

Does the D90 compare in any way to the F5 as far as capabilities?
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Old Aug 18, 11, 6:32 pm   #5
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One other thing I almost forgot - even if you ignore my earlier advice and wanted to pick up a film camera to try this with, there's no reason for someone who shoots the stuff you shoot to bother with an F5 - it's way too heavy and bulky a camera to ideally meet your needs, and it's a vast degree of overkill for you. Rather than getting an F5, I would suggest that if you wanted a good film slr that's compatible with Nikon lens mount, you should get a Nikon N90s (also known as the F90x in overseas markets). These puppies have around 90% of the capabilities and features of an F5, but half the size and weight, and nowadays, you can pick up a clean body for $50-75 on ebay with no problem at all. And the shutter speed goes to 1/8000th, which is more than fast enough for any application.

And after you've abandoned the idea, you still only dropped $50-75 on a perfectly good film SLR body.

Much more of the cost and effort involved would be in getting a good dedicated 35mm film scanner. You can get some junk ones for $50-75, but most of the good ones for serious work have been long discontinued, and good luck with software support.

As far as the capabilities of the D90 compared to an F5, it's apples and oranges. You said you wanted fast shutter speeds. A D90 goes to 1/4000th of a sec., which, frankly, is more than fast enough to freeze any action you wish, even though an F5 can go faster, at least 1/8000th They are built to do different things - A D90 shoots 12 Megapixel digital images, and can burst them at 4.5 images per second. An F5 can shoot 9 FPS on film, but a D90 can also shoot video at 30 FPS.

But BY FAR, the main difference is that the D90 is designed to be a highly practical, highly capable, reasonably priced DSLR, while the F5 is designed to be a workhorse tank of a professional FILM camera. And I frankly don't see why you would want that, nowadays, or ever, given what you said you like to shoot. As I said, even if you DID want to shoot film rather than digital, an N90s would be a far more practical and less costly solution for you than an F5.

Last edited by DJGMaster1; Aug 18, 11 at 6:43 pm.
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Old Aug 18, 11, 6:36 pm   #6
 
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Originally Posted by DJGMaster1 View Post
One other thing I almost forgot - even if you ignore my earlier advice and wanted to pick up a film camera to try this with, there's no reason for someone who shoots the stuff you shoot to bother with an F5 - it's way too heavy and bulky a camera to ideally meet your needs, and it's a vast degree of overkill for you. Rather than getting an F5, I would suggest that if you wanted a good film slr that's compatible with Nikon lens mount, you should get a Nikon N90s (also known as the F90x in overseas markets). These puppies have around 90% of the capabilities and features of an F5, but half the size and weight, and nowadays, you can pick up a clean body for $50-75 on ebay with no problem at all. And the shutter speed goes to 1/8000th, which is more than fast enough for any application.

And after you've abandoned the idea, you still only dropped $50-75 on a perfectly good film SLR body.

Much more of the cost and effort involved would be in getting a good dedicated 35mm film scanner. You can get some junk ones for $50-75, but most of the good ones for serious work have been long discontinued, and good luck with software support.
I will be going with a DSLR. Has to be Nikon (my first slr was a Nikon from my dad and have never looked at anything else). Thanks again for the info!
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Old Aug 18, 11, 7:49 pm   #7
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As I said, even if you DID want to shoot film rather than digital, an N90s would be a far more practical and less costly solution for you than an F5.
This wouldn't be a very good option IMO.

The N90/90s does not have a second command dial therefore you cannot use Nikon's newer G lenses effectively.

The F100 - which can also be had in mint condition for next-to-nothing - would be a much better option long term, not to mention that you get essentially the same build quality as the F5 in a smaller and lighter package and the F100's auto focus and metering systems are an order of magnitude better than the N90/90s [which was indeed a superb camera for the mid 90's].

Also, the F100 can use a larger number of older and more specialized manual focus Nikkors than could the N90/90s such as the older serial number PC lenses.
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Last edited by anrkitec; Aug 18, 11 at 9:37 pm.
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Old Aug 19, 11, 10:14 pm   #8
 
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Originally Posted by Denolloyd View Post
I will be going with a DSLR. Has to be Nikon (my first slr was a Nikon from my dad and have never looked at anything else). Thanks again for the info!
Good choice I have used Nikon gear since I was 15 years old and have very rarely had a problem. There was a story years ago about a Nikon sales rep who went on stage at a trade show to talk about his product. The Canon guy had just finished a lengthy demonstration of his wares. The Nikon guy tells his name, holds up a Nikon F3 as I recall so everyone can see it. He then holds the camera at arms length and drops it on the stage. The audience gasps as he picks up the camera and takes a few shots of the audience and announces he will be in his booth if anyone has any questions Maybe an urban legend or maybe not.....
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Old Aug 20, 11, 11:27 am   #9
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This wouldn't be a very good option IMO.

The N90/90s does not have a second command dial therefore you cannot use Nikon's newer G lenses effectively.

The F100 - which can also be had in mint condition for next-to-nothing - would be a much better option long term, not to mention that you get essentially the same build quality as the F5 in a smaller and lighter package and the F100's auto focus and metering systems are an order of magnitude better than the N90/90s [which was indeed a superb camera for the mid 90's].

Also, the F100 can use a larger number of older and more specialized manual focus Nikkors than could the N90/90s such as the older serial number PC lenses.
I actually don't consider the inability to use G lenses with an older film camera to be a significant issue at all - and I couldn't rationalize paying triple the cost of a used N90s body for used F100 which is otherwise similar except for better matrix metering and slightly faster motor advance and AF - for what I was already certain would be a failed experiment for the OP. In any case, I was glad to see that the OP had come to his senses and was going to be investigating DSLRs, with my recommendation of the D90 as his starting point.
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Old Aug 20, 11, 11:30 am   #10
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There was a story years ago about a Nikon sales rep who went on stage at a trade show to talk about his product. The Canon guy had just finished a lengthy demonstration of his wares. The Nikon guy tells his name, holds up a Nikon F3 as I recall so everyone can see it. He then holds the camera at arms length and drops it on the stage. The audience gasps as he picks up the camera and takes a few shots of the audience and announces he will be in his booth if anyone has any questions Maybe an urban legend or maybe not.....
This demo trick would be inadvisable with either an earlier Nikon F, or a Canon F-1, out of concern for damaging the stage.

BTW, I still own a couple of Nikon F3s (as well as a couple of N90s bodies, an F2, an FE and an FM). Too bad I don't shoot 35mm film anymore.

Last edited by DJGMaster1; Aug 20, 11 at 11:39 am.
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Old Sep 1, 11, 7:52 pm   #11
 
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Ok folks, I got the wife an IPad today to sweeten her up for my DSLR purchase. I think I'll be able to pull the trigger this weekend. I played with both a D90 and a D7000 at best buy. Both seem to be solid cameras, with the D7000 naturally having newer technology and somewhat more advanced features.

Curious... As I plan to keep which ever DSLR I choose for several years, would you recommend I go with a D7000? Perhaps this may be overkill?

Thanks
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Old Sep 1, 11, 9:10 pm   #12
 
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Originally Posted by Denolloyd View Post
Ok folks, I got the wife an IPad today to sweeten her up for my DSLR purchase. I think I'll be able to pull the trigger this weekend. I played with both a D90 and a D7000 at best buy. Both seem to be solid cameras, with the D7000 naturally having newer technology and somewhat more advanced features.

Curious... As I plan to keep which ever DSLR I choose for several years, would you recommend I go with a D7000? Perhaps this may be overkill?

Thanks
The D7000 was kind of sort of supposedly meant to be the D90's replacement. It has a newer sensor and newer algorithms for processing data. It really made some D300/D300s owners mad as it stepped up into their territory on a few fronts. If you're hoping to keep it a while, I'd go for the newer camera. As an added bonus, the D7000 will even be able to do more with a wider range of Nikon's lenses from over the years. There are some deals to be had on older lenses. The D7000 also has that metal chassis. Despite the added extras, I wouldn't look at the D7000 as a different level of camera but more as a different generation.
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Old Sep 2, 11, 5:11 pm   #13
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Originally Posted by Denolloyd View Post
Ok folks, I got the wife an IPad today to sweeten her up for my DSLR purchase. I think I'll be able to pull the trigger this weekend. I played with both a D90 and a D7000 at best buy. Both seem to be solid cameras, with the D7000 naturally having newer technology and somewhat more advanced features.

Curious... As I plan to keep which ever DSLR I choose for several years, would you recommend I go with a D7000? Perhaps this may be overkill?

Thanks
While either the D90 or D7000 will serve you well I would go with the D7000 if only because it will be worth significantly more several years from now if you decide to "upgrade".

More importantly however can I suggest that you make your purchase with a local camera store. Smaller, independent camera stores are quickly disappearing not because they can't compete with places like Best Buy on price but because it seems people see them as somehow less convenient.

As you list TPA as your home airport may I suggest that you at least give a place like North Tampa Photo* a chance for your business. I suspect that they would competitive on price and will be much more helpful to you down the road than will the high school kid at Best Buy who was just showing someone else a vacuum cleaner.

* No affiliation, just have heard from friends in the TPA area that they are a pretty good shop.
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Old Sep 11, 11, 8:09 pm   #14
 
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As long as you are planning to keep the camera a number of years go with the newer technology (better high ISO and video). The D90 is already 2 or 3 years old a design while the D7000 is merely a few months on the market.

I'm glad to read you have dropped the idea of an F5. Those cameras were so big and heavy but in their time did a great job. I can't imagine air travel with film nowadays. In the 90's I used to travel with soft coolers filled with film but now it is much easier with digital. Also getting film developed and scanned is expensive and time consuming now.
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Old Sep 12, 11, 12:02 am   #15
 
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I just traded my D90 in for a D7000 yesterday. I went to a local camera store here in Houston rather than the "big yellow price tag store". (the "camera guy" at the BB tried to convince me that a d3100 was a better camera than the d700 a few weeks ago, at that point I went looking for a real camera store)

they are (d90 and d7k) are very similar in their layouts. a few minor diffs, but other then that the 7k is a little bigger they are pretty much the same. The d7000 does have two sd card slots which I love (raws on one, jpegs on the other or you can configure it a couple other ways).

You can push the ISO to 25k. I've just been playing around here at the house and gotten some very good results at ISO 6400 with little noise.

Of course I just went to the camera store to buy a ND filter and came out with a new camera body.....most expensive filter I ever bought. (Then I had to turn around and go back as i forgot the filter)
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