From FE to F100
The first few weeks I felt like an Iron Age Celt in a Tesla Model S. So you will not be surprised when I tell you that it took me another year to find out that the F100 offers multiple exposure by a simple wheel-turn. And that was the day when the Nikon F100 replaced the Nikon FE as my everyday working horse.
Nikon F100 Film Camera Review
Ready for Pro
The F100 is a camera body absolutely ready to go pro. If you are judging a camera by it's street handling factor, I would even put it over the F5, due to the F5's impressive weight and size.
So, lower-spec but not a downscale?
Details, or: "I did read TFM"
Having sayd that until then my “always in the pocket” was a Leica III copy and my working horse the Nikon FE, the most impressing feature was the sophisticated metering system of the F100.
Panda Metering Science
10 sensor 3D matrix meter, center weighted metering with a 75% emphasis on the viewfinder’s center area, or better the selectable 5-zone spot metering? Definitely something I didn’t know from my full mechanical FEDs and it took me some time to understand how it can make my film photography life easier without letting it be rocket science. Once again: I am the Panda, not Elon Musk.
Nikon lense compatibility
Another crucial feature is the complete compatibility with modern Nikon lenses including autofocus D and G lenses without physical aperture control. If you are a digital shooter, that’s an argument, isn’t it?
Apocalypse ready Focus System
Dynamic/single area/close object autofocus modes within a 5-area-system. Let that sit down when getting the rangefinder layers of your FED 2 matching each other next time.
Multiple Exposures with the Nikon F100
So you need a clear vision of the final picture: Where are the parts where the second picture’s details should appear? Where are the areas where both pictures’ details should organically flow into each other? Which parts should be blown out in highlights? The professional spot metering/area metering of the F100 are offering all possibilities I need to realize any of my double exposure film photography concepts.
Along with the EV correction the F100 has everything onboard for my experimental photography needs. No doubt a handheld light meter device does it’s job, too. I am using one on a regular basis for my other film cameras and I’m fine with it. But especially accurate spot metering is somehow difficult with a handheld device. In the F100 I have all of that, through the lense.
100% Street Ready
One of my cornerstone expectations to a film camera is it’s street handling. I don’t need a 35mm studio camera. No sense in that. But I definitely do need a camera following me from 5000 meters above to 300 meters under sea level, from desert to the crowded streets of megacities.
The Nikon F100’s magnesium alloy body is well built and very durable in all possible environments where I would use a camera. And still smaller and much more light weight as the Nikon F5, just to point that out one more time. If you ever thought about going for an F5, think again. Where would you use the camera? For studio purposes the F5 is a perfect choice. For the world outside, better go for the F100.
So, the difference between the Nikon F100 and the F5 is...?
There are definitely deficites on the side of the F100 compared to the F5. The F100 shares the PASM mode settings found in the professional line, but some fine pro-specs are missing. Advanced metering, mirror lock-up, (almost) complete compatibility with all of Nikon’s F-mount lenses (also matrix metering with manual focus lenses).
What to say? I’m quite fine with that. But if you have a enormous collection of old Nikon lenses, the F5 is worth a thought.
The Panda says: YES!
I feel like the pure fact that the Nikon F100 is the only one in the numrous Nikon family to be compared to the professional flagships F5 and F6 on a regular basis tells everything about this excellent film camera.
No matter if you are a war torn digital professional looking for a film camera, or if you are new to film photography at all – the F100 is a perfect choice in my eyes.
If we take into consideration that it sells today for less than some overrated point and shoot toys, it is safe to say that the F100 is the best deal you can get on the 35mm field inside the Nikon family.
Before going for an F5 or F6, I would rather buy 5-8 F100 bodies for the same money. Some day every good camera needs a replacement. And the Nikon F100 I would like to have in stock, just in case of!
Photos made with my Nikon F100
A sample of double exposure photos I made with the Nikon F100. It became my favourite 35mm camera for this purpose.