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|| News Item: Posted 1999-06-10

Gettin' Jiggy With Nikon's F100
By Robert Beck, Sports Illustrated

Right out of the gate, the absolute best thing about the Nikon F100 is it's size. Without becoming a techno geek, the F100 is much smaller than the F5 and weighs much less. It is about the size of an F5 without the F5's bottom battery compartment. If you want to make it the size of an F5 you can. Just add the MB-15, AKA Multi-Power High Speed Battery Pack. I don't really know why anyone would do that...Without the MB-15 the body rocks at 4.5 frames per second. With the MB-15 it rolls at 5 frames per second.

Photo by
The F100 also costs much less than the F5. It is about $1300.00. It has all of the bells and whistles that the F5 has (that I care about) with one huge exception...No removable prism. The viewfinder on the F100 seems a bit smaller too but I can live with that.

For those of you that use the back buttons to activate your autofocus...They are much bigger/better buttons now. And instead of those disco arrows in the F5 that tell you which autofocus sensor you are using (You know, the ones way at the side of the viewfinder), the sensor actually lights up red at the touch of the shutter button. Very cool improvement.
You can also easily lock which sensor you want to use. The lock is right next to the sensor selector dial. Now my big schnoz won't change my focus area by accident. Yours won't either.

Because it is shorter, the F100 puts all of the important camera info on the top deck led readout. There is no back bottom led like the F5. In other words, the top deck led has the same info as the F5 with the addition of the flash setting information. With the simple touch of the ISO button (located where the F5's film rewind knob is) the film speed shows up. Ditto the custom flash setting button and the bracketing button. This does manual rewind with this puppy.

The F100 is a professional camera. I never did like the N90 or N90s. They were a bit cheesy to me. This feels like a real camera. It has the same grip as the F5. It has everything the F5 has that can meter, focus and expose your film in more ways than you will ever dream of. It feels good in your hand and gives your neck or shoulder a big break. It will give your wallet a big break...Well, okay, compared to the F5. You will not be able to manually rewind your film and you will not be able to take the prism off.

Do you need this camera?

If you are a professional, yes. You won't ditch your F5's but you'll use this a lot when you're in a hurry, want to travel light or as your extra grab camera. If you are not a professional, even more so...yes. Why fork out for an F5 when you can get it in a smaller, less expensive F100 package?

(Robert Beck, a golf and beach volleyball aficianado, is a staff photographer for Sports Illustrated based in Southern California.)

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