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David Martin
David Martin

Nikon F4 Serial Number Database



As with many vintage cameras, overall condition should be your first priority, then you can look for subtle variations between batches. A compromise approach to shopping the F4 is recommended: you probably don't want to get a beater professional discard F4 just because it has a late serial number, OTOH you don't want to overpay for a first-batch F4 just because its pristine. Approx 600,000 bodies were sold during the F4 market lifespan of 1988-1996.




Nikon F4 Serial Number Database



As a very rough rule of thumb, F4 bodies with serial numbers above 23xxxxx are preferable to lower numbers because they definitely include the most critical design update: more secure prism latches. Unless sent in for a retrofit by their original owners, serial numbers below 23xxxxx can have issues with the meter prism coming off more abruptly than expected when changing finders or screens, causing the camera body to drop to the floor etc. Granted, most people are unlikely to change finders or screens from shoulder height in the field, but it was enough of an issue that Nikon felt compelled to modify the latch system.


Other modifications are less critical: nice to have, but usually not dealbreakers. The lowest recommended serial number range is 2147000 and above: these have improved, more durable shutter dial, meter mode switches, back springs and low-battery alert circuit. Serial # above 25xxxxx adds a few more niceties like slightly stronger body shell, more secure connection to Nikon flashes, etc.


"When purchasing a used F4 body, one might well look for one with a serial number starting with 24, 25, or 26, if possible. A really clean one with a 23 serial number would also be OK. These later bodies give you most of the really important upgrades Nikon implemented during production of the F4.


Moose Peterson, in his NIKONSYSTEM HANDBOOK (3rd edition) lists several modifications to the F4 madeearly in the production run, between serial numbers 2100000 and 2180000.These include:1. changes to the shutter speeddial -- clearer lettering, a higher unlocking button, and greater tension.This may have taken place between 2115101 and 2146957. 2. a change to the switchon the viewfinder that sets metering modes; the protrusion that allowsone to turn this switch has been lowered in profile to avoid unintendedshift from one metering mode to another. This change took place AFTER 2146957.The original switch has a protrusion to help turn theswitch that sticks up above the top of the switch where it can catch thingsand cause the metering to change unintentionally.The new switch has a protrusion as well, but it extends"out" rather than up and is much less likely to be moved accidentally.The spring tension on this switch has also been increased. This ALSO tookplace after 2146957. Pictures of the original metering switch can beseen in THE NIKON COMPENDIUM, p. 30.3. the spring on the release leverfor opening the back is stronger.4. the battery warning respondsat a lower voltage.According to Walter Pietsch,Nikon made additional modifications in the F4 since its introduction in1988. They are:1) Some strengthening of the metalbody, undetectable to the eye.2) The original F4s had paint usedon the shutter speed numbers that peeled and flaked off. If this hasn'thappened to yours, then you've got the later model. This change may beincluded in Moose's change #1 above.3) Finder has double security tobe removed - you need to press the release button until finder is 3/4 off.Moose describes this change (NIKON HANDBOOK, 4th edition) as use of a "doubledetente on the finder release lever."The release button on the older model basically looksthe same, but it works differently. On the older model as soon as you pressthe release button the finder is fully loose and can fall off. Lawrence Ang reports that this change had been madeby the s/no 2301000 body.4) There is a small rubber "tooth"that sticks out at the top of the right-hand grip and rests on the user'smiddle finger. This gives more support and a secure confident feeling foryour right hand.Lawrence Ang (6/5/97) reports that this "tooth" was missingfrom the original model MB-20 grip as well, and was added later to thatgrip. (Nikon must has liked this feature; it was added to the design ofthe 6006 and other models).5) The pin which detects whetherthe back is open or not was initially a metal and is now made out of whiteplastic.6) The battery switch inside theMB-21 grip is now labeled "Ni-Cd" rather than "KR-AA." #6) The finder nowhas an extra hole in the hot shoe for the security pin of the SB25 andSB 26 flash units.This last change seems to be mostrecent. It appears in F4 bodies with serial numbers after 2500000 (Update:Body upto s/n 2500764 haven got the pin modification),but does not appear in bodies with serial numbers between 2400000 and 2500000.Thus for F4 serial number 2523898, subtract 2100000 toget 423898. Divide by 5000 and get 84.7796. Round to 85 to get 85 monthsfrom September of 1988, or 7 years one month, giving approximately October1995 as the date of manufacture.Note: Walter says that this process of calculation doesnot work for F4 bodies for which the serial number starts with 22 Date of PurchaseSerial NumberNotes Late 1996


F4 was originally produced in 1988 (serial number started from 2000001), and the last batch was produced in 1996 (serial number 26xxxxx). To collect F4, you should try to choose the one with the highest serial number. This is because Nikon has made a series of improvements to F4 after it came into the market, including externally visible ones (such as shutter speed, dial handwriting clarity, coating firmness, and the height and strength of release lock; photometric mode selection switch on viewfinder; viewfinder disassembly method; a small piece protrudes above the handle; the "kr-aa" at the lower left of mb-21 becomes "Ni Cd", etc.), And what is invisible inside (body metal reinforcement, etc.). The last improvement is that a small hole is added to the flash hot shoe to lock the sb-25 / sb-26 flash, which can only be seen on F4 after the serial number 2500000. Of course, these are not very big changes. Even the early F4 is very reliable. The second choice of mobile phones mainly depends on the condition. A common aging problem is the LCD bleed of the viewfinder, so you should carefully check it when you buy it.


When purchasing F4s, you must pay attention to the matching of various parts. For example, a body with a serial number of 25xxxxx and a viewfinder with no holes in the hot boots are not the original ones; The fuselage with the serial number of 24xxxxx is equipped with a flat and concave handle, or a "kr-aa" mb-21, which also indicates that it was patched up later. Although there is no difference in use, there is no collection value.


Reaching out to a specialist seller, I was able to find a Nikon F4. Mint, lightly used, later serial number. Initial impressions were good. It hit every one of the above check list items. I purchased a 50/ 1.4D and an 85/ 1.8D and started to shoot.


m.durkan: I bought a second Nikon F4 body last year (with earlier serial numbers) that had the MB-20 and I found an issue with battery drain also. I tried rechargeable ni-mh AA and it would drain the batteries after about 2 days. I haven't tested it with regular batteries, but I suspect it may go flat also. I have another later serial number F4 and that issue doesn't appear. I've swapped the mb-20's between both bodies and it wasn't the battery grip.I've been trying to figure from reading on the Internet whether Ni-mh batteries which are 1.2v might an issue when using it with an earlier F4 since it may not add up to voltage needed to power the F4?67 months ago(permalink)


The description and photos are representative of the item you will receive - of course, if you're looking for a specific version, or serial number, feel free to get in touch and ask us for more details.


Traditionally, we used the date code to determine the age of a Canon lens.However, starting in 2008 with the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens, Canon has transitioned away from date code inclusion and to a longer 10-digit lens serial number.While date codes and shorter serial numbers are still found on some lenses manufactured in or after 2008, that practice appears to have been completely phased out.


These dates should be viewed as approximations and should be used for your amusement as the estimates are not guaranteed correct.Please send any discrepancies you find.Note that Canon EOS DSLR camera body serial numbers, at least for 2013, do not follow this chart.Also please note that future dates shown in the table are predictions/expectations.


#4 Nikon F This old workhorse is still an excellent choice. Dependable, versatile, and inexpensive in common serial number blocks. Advantages include incredibledependability and professional features. All F's will take thedependable F36 motor, BUT you will need a "motor plate" or "Qplate" on the bottom of your F body to connect to the F36. Youcan buy the plate and install it yourself without too much trouble, but it mayneed adjustment to the F36 motor -- something left for repairman. If you need a 250 exposure back, there is nobetter buy in 35mm photography. Nikon F 250 backs sell very cheaply compared to thelater F2/F3/F4 backs and even include a built in motor. The F offers true 100% finder area if you need very precise framing. A verywide selection of Focusing screens are available for any specialized purpose. The F and F2screens are completely interchangeable. F action finders and waist level finders will alsofit the F2. The reverse is also true, if you remove the F's front nameplate. If you need amotor, the F2 is a better choice with an improved motor. No data backs or TTL flash areavailable on the F.


F4 used prices have fallen since theintroduction of the F5 to their lowest ever, making them very attractive. The first F4's serial number was 2000201. As the end of production neared, Japanese collectors starting buying up the last ones as collector items, hoping that the ending serial number would be pushed over the 3 million range. Guess what, F4 prices have fallen, making them great buys for manual focus lenses.


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