When the Nikon F100 came out in 1999, it soon became one of the most loved  Single Lens Reflex (SLR) film cameras. The body of the camera is ruggedly built, and features a whole lot of useful functions. It’s almost like the Nikon F100 has all the features built into it that makes it feel quite modern. Nikon really did a great job with this camera.
If you are a digital shooter and want to try your hands out with an SLR, the Nikon F100 is probably your best option. Moreover, if you are already a Nikon user, you will find yourself at home with the F100. The design, lens selection, and even the features in the F100 are pretty close to what any modern-day Nikon DSLR has to offer.
Whether you love shooting full manual, or don’t mind the camera assisting you in getting your job done, the Nikon F100 excels at both. Worrying about getting the right exposure is a matter of the past with this camera as it features some great metering modes. And if shooting high speed is your forte, the camera’s 1/8000s shutter speed has you covered.
All in all the Nikon F100 is a great package and worth every single penny that you invest. If the thought of whether or not to get this camera has ever crossed your mind, I highly recommend that you get it without any second thoughts.
Who is the Nikon F100 for?
Nikon marketed the F100 as a prosumer level camera. But, that designation does so little justice to the camera. Judging by how the camera is designed and built, and what all it has to offer, Nikon could have easily called it a professional ready body. The body’s construction is well suited for professional photographers who work in adverse conditions.
That said, I don’t mean that hobbyists and amateurs should shy away from the camera. Looking at the price point it is available at today, it is a perfect grab for anyone looking to venturing into the world of analog photography. If you’re a beginner and shooting in manual is still not your thing, then the semi auto modes with the amazing metering modes will make you feel right at home. Just switch over to any of the Programmed Auto (P), Aperture Priority (A), or Shutter Priority (S) modes and let the camera do the work.
Today, the Nikon F100 sits at a point where it is a great camera for anyone to own. I cannot say the same for every other camera but working with the F100 is so effortless, that it suits the need of most of us photographers in the market.
Nikon F100 features
|Lens mount||Nikon F-mount|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||155 x 113 x 66 mm (6.1 x 4.4 x 2.6 in)|
|Weight||879.15 g (31.01 oz) with 4 AA alkaline batteries785g (27.7 oz) without batteries|
|Shutter speed||30 – 1/8000s, Bulb mode|
|Battery||AA-size battery holder MS-12 provided (four alkaline or lithium batteries); 3V lithium battery holder MS-13 available (for two CR123A or DL123A batteries);Multi-Power High-Speed Battery Pack MB-15 and R6/AA-size battery holder MS-15 are also available (for six alkaline or lithium batteries, or Ni-MH battery MN-15)|
|View finder||Fixed eye-level pentaprism, approx 96% Coverage|
|Flash sync speed||1/250s|
Design and construction
Having used quite a number of Nikon DSLRs over the years, the design of the Nikon F100 felt quite familiar. The camera has a typical Nikon feel to the design. Even the button layout was quite familiar and easy to work with. Besides the back film cover, the entire body is made of magnesium alloy and is built like a tank. This gives a pretty professional feel to the camera.
The body is modest when it comes to weight and the lack of a built-in battery grip makes the camera a comfortable camera to walk around with. The grip is decent, and the entire body is covered with a pretty rugged rubber material just like the Nikon F5.
Jumping between the different focus modes is also a joy thanks to the toggle switch at the front. And if you are like me who just likes to use the back button for focus, you too will love the option on the back.
Overall, I love the way the sturdy construction gives the Nikon F100 a professional feel while the user friendly design translates to ease of use.
The Nikon F100 features three types of metering systems viz. 10 segment 3D Matrix Metering, Center-Weighted Metering (75% on the 12mm circle), and Spot Metering (1% of the frame).
Compare the 10 segment matrix metering of the F100 to the F5’s 1005-element color matrix meter, and you may feel that the F100 performs poorly. But that’s not the case at all. I did notice that in high contrast situations and under extreme lighting conditions like when the subject is backlit, the F100 underexposed the scene by around a full stop, and sometimes even more.
The center-weighted and the spot metering on the other hand are a delight to work with. Results are fairly accurate and I found myself getting consistently well-exposed images.
If working with semi auto modes is your thing, rest assured that the camera will get you a good exposure. This means that you can spend greater time in composing your images than thinking of the camera settings to use. However, in situations where the lighting is really tricky and you need to have the subject well exposed, just try avoiding the matrix metering mode.
The F100 features a 5-point autofocus system with 3 of them being cross type. I was quite delighted with the way the autofocus system performs in the Nikon F100. The camera snaps to the subject with confidence, and is quite accurate.
The camera has three focus modes: Single Servo AF (S), Continuous Servo AF (C), and Manual Focus (M) . And, if you need to track moving subjects, the camera also features a Dynamic Focus Lock-on function to help you out. One major quirk I have with the dynamic focus lock-on function is that the viewfinder does not display the AF sensor that is actually being used when taking the photo. It only highlights the one that you’d initially selected when composing the image.
Another great benefit I see with the Nikon F100 is that the camera supports not only the older lenses, but also works great with modern lenses. Most of the modern-day G lenses focus fine with the Nikon F100. This is great news if you already own a Nikon camera and some glasses and would want to try your hands with film photography.
Nikon F100 Sample Images
Should you get the Nikon F100?
The Nikon F100 is a pleasure to work with no matter what level of photography and camera knowledge you have. If you own a Nikon DSLR and would like to try your hands with film photography, you’ll feel right at home with the Nikon F100. Further, the fact that modern Nikon glasses work with the Nikon F100 makes it a must-have film camera if you own Nikon lenses and want to try out film photography.
The fast shutter speed of the Nikon F100 that goes up to blazing 1/8000s makes it a perfect tool if you shoot sports, wildlife, or birds. It’s also good if you love to shoot wide open with fast glasses in brightly lit conditions.
To sum it up, the Nikon F100 is a pretty versatile camera. It suits photographers of any genre and any skill level perfectly. So, if you are out in the market looking for a film camera and come across the Nikon F100, I suggest that you get it without wasting more time. The camera is a bargain, and perfect value for money.
Final Verdict on the Nikon F100
The Nikon F100 is a perfect professional-level camera with the ease of use of a consumer-level camera. Versatility is where it shines making it a great tool for any photographer looking to shoot with film. The compatibility of newer lenses is an added advantage to the camera and the fact that the body is available today for a few hundred dollars makes it a bang for the buck.
The F100 is a workhorse and fantastic equipment even by today’s standards. And the fact that the body appears not too different from a modern DSLR saves you from being called a hipster who’s just shooting with film for the gram.
New Zealand travel photographer based in London, UK. He was taking photos from a very young age in the backcountry of New Zealand before moving abroad. Since doing so he has taken workshops and tried to help get as many people into this art as possible. Featured in NZ Herald, Stuff.co.nz and many photography publications it’s safe to say he loves his photography!