F5 Concise Instructions

The following information is transcribed from Thom Hogan's Nikon Field Guide, no longer in print (Copyright 2000 Thom Hogan). Copies sometimes are still available used on eBay.

F5 LCD Messages

  • HI — Current settings will overexpose shot.
  • LO — Current settings will underexpose shot.
  • FEE blinks — AF or AI-P lens not set to smallest aperture in P or S mode.
  • END blinks — End of roll has been reached; rewind film.
  • battery symbol blinks — Batteries are low; replace them.
  • E — No film is loaded in camera.
  • E appears and ERR blinks — Film not loaded correctly; reload film.
  • F-- — In A exposure mode, AF or AI-P lens isn’t set to smallest aperture or manual lens is in use; in P or S modes, lens has no CPU to support autoexposure.
  • P or S blinks — Lens has no CPU to support P or S exposure mode; camera defaults to A mode automatically.
  • ERR blinks — Camera detects a shutter or film transport problem; turn camera off and on—if problem persists, take camera to repair center.
  • BULB blinks — Cannot set bulb shutter speed in S exposure mode; set camera to M mode or select another shutter speed.
  • ERR, ISO, and DX blink — Non-DX coded film or invalid DX code detected; set ISO manually.
  • Shutter speed blinks — Shutter speed is faster than flash sync speed (1/250 second unless modified by custom setting).
  • BKT — Camera is set for exposure or flash bracketing.
  • computer symbol blinks — Camera’s film data storage is full (80 rolls normally, 160 rolls with memory upgrade); download data to computer.
  • LCD all black — Camera is too hot (but still likely to operate).
  • LCD slow to update — Camera is too cold (but still likely to operate).

F5 Alert Light

  • On — End of roll has been reached; rewind film.
  • Blinks — One of the following conditions has occurred:
    • 1. Film didn’t load correctly; reload film.
    • 2. Second rewind lever was accidentally pressed; pull second rewind lever to normal position.
    • 3. Shutter error detected; turn camera off and on again. If problem persists, take camera to repair center.

F5 Viewfinder Error Messages

  • >< symbols blink — Autofocus not possible; focus manually.
  • < symbol — Subject not in focus or located closer than the lens’ minimum focusing distance.
  • > symbol — Subject not in focus or lens not set on infinity when TC-16A is used.
  • HI — Current settings will overexpose shot.
  • LO — Current settings will underexpose shot.
  • FEE blinks — Lens not set to smallest aperture.
  • F-- — In A exposure mode, AF or AI-P lens is not set to smallest aperture or a manual lens is in use; in P or S modes, lens has no CPU to support autoexposure.
  • E appears in the frame counter and ERR blinks — Film not loaded correctly; reload film.
  • ERR blinks — One of the following conditions has occurred:
    • 1. Non-DX coded film was detected or DX code not interpreted; set ISO manually.
    • 2. Camera has detected a shutter or film transport problem; turn camera off and on again—if the problem persists, take the camera to a repair center.
  • BULB blinks — Bulb cannot be set in S exposure mode; set camera to M mode or select another shutter speed.
  • A appears (when P or S mode is set) — Lens has no CPU to support P or S exposure mode; camera automatically defaults to A mode.
  • center-weight symbol appears (in matrix mode) — Lens has no CPU to support matrix metering; camera automatically defaults to center-weighted metering.
  • END blinks — End of roll has been reached; rewind film.
  • flash symbol blinks — Flash may not have been sufficient to provide correct exposure. (See Flash chapter.)

F5 Instructions

Turning the Camera On and Off

To turn the power on, simultaneously press the button adjacent to the shutter release and rotate the power switch surrounding the shutter release to the On position. 

Note: When the camera is on, pressing the shutter release halfway turns on the exposure meter, viewfinder illumination, and, when appropriate, autofocus. The meter remains active for 16 seconds unless modified by custom setting #15. 

To turn power off, repeat the instructions above, but rotate the switch to Off.


Resetting the Camera to Its Default Settings

Simultaneously press the green BKT and CSM buttons on the rear control panel (next to the rear LCD) for more than 2 seconds. Resetting the F5 causes the camera to revert to the following:

  • Multi-program (P) exposure mode
  • Flexible program adjustments cancelled
  • Single sensor focus area using the center sensor (i.e., not dynamic autofocus)
  • Front-curtain flash sync, unless overridden by an SB-24, SB-25, or SB-26 Speedlight
  • No exposure compensation
  • No exposure and flash bracketing active (though 3 frames in 1/3-stop increments set)
  • No multiple exposure
  • No custom settings except custom settings 0-A and 0-B, which retain their settings
  • No shutter speed, aperture, or focus area lock
  • MF-28 Multi-Control Back: all functions are cancelled, but the set values are retained in memory.


Setting the Film Advance Mode

Hold down the film advance mode selector lock release button on the top left of the camera while rotating the dial surrounding the rewind knob (film advance mode selector) to the desired setting:

  • S Single Frame—Press the shutter release once for each exposure.
  • CS Continuous Silent—About 1 frame per second while the shutter release is held down.
  • CL Continuous Low Speed—About 3 frames per second while the shutter release is held down.
  • CH Continuous High Speed—About 7.4 frames per second with AA batteries, 8 frames per second with NiMH batteries, while the shutter release is held down.

The stated frame rates are for shutter speeds of 1/250 second or faster in manual exposure and manual focus mode. Two F5s can be synchronized via the optional PC software to provide alternating shots, resulting in a total of 16 frames per second. By using custom setting #9, the CH speed can be changed to 6 frames per second, and using custom setting #10, the CL speed can be changed to 4 or 5 frames per second.

Note: When imprinting data on film with the MF-28 Multi-Control Back, do not set film advance to CH because it moves too fast to imprint. 


Setting the ISO Manually

Hold down the ISO button on the rear control panel and rotate the rear command dial to set the film speed, displayed on the rear LCD panel.


Setting the ISO Automatically with DX Encoding

Hold down the ISO button on the rear control panel and rotate the rear command dial until the rear LCD displays the DX indicator (if film is in the camera, the film’s ISO value is also shown).


Loading Film

1. Set the ISO manually or set DX encoding.

2. Push the release lever in front of the rewind crank in the direction of the arrow and lift the crank to open the camera back.

3. Insert the film cartridge from the bottom (slide the top of the cartridge into the bracket at the top of the chamber). 

4. Pull the film leader to the right, across to the red index mark in the take-up area.

5. Using the rewind crank, remove any slack from the film so that it lies flat.

6. Close the camera back. 

7. Press the shutter release; the camera advances the film to the first frame. Check that the correct ISO value appears in the rear LCD.

Note: Custom setting #8 can be used to automatically advance the film to the first frame when you close the camera’s back, in which case step 7 is no longer necessary.


Rewinding Film

1. Lift the cover over rewind button 1 (lower right of the camera back) and press the button that’s revealed.

2. Press the rewind lever lock release (upper left side of the camera back) and  flip up the film rewind lever 2.

Or,

1. Lift the cover over rewind button 1 (lower right of the camera back) and press the button that’s revealed.

2. Lift the rewind crank handle and turn it in the direction of the arrow until the film is rewound into the cartridge (you’ll feel a release of the tension on the handle).

Caution: Never press the shutter release while rewinding film on the F5; doing so may damage the shutter curtain.


Setting the Metering Method

Hold in the metering system selector lock release while turning the metering system selector on the right side of the prism to the desired setting:

  • Matrix — Multi-segment evaluative metering is used with additional information from a 1005-pixel CCD sensor. Requires AF or AI-P type lenses. With D-type lenses, the focus distance is also taken into account.
  • Center-Weighted — 75% of the meter’s sensitivity is concentrated in the central 12mm circle in the viewfinder. The size of the center-weighted area may be changed via custom setting #14.
  • Spot — 100% of the meter’s sensitivity is concentrated on a 4mm area in the viewfinder corresponding to the selected autofocus area (with EC-B screen; 6mm with other screens). 

The F5’s matrix metering system has a top limit of EV 16.3 (f/11 at 1/500 second in P mode). 

Filtration can fool the CCD. For example, if you put a Wratten 12 filter on the lens to shoot infrared transparency film, the meter sees more yellow than normal and adjusts the exposure (generally towards overexposure in this case).


Setting the Focus Mode

Move the focus mode selector on the front of the camera body to:

S Single Servo AF—Uses focus priority (shutter cannot be released until focus is achieved). 

Viewfinder symbols for a stationary subject:

> Lens is rotating right to achieve focus.

< Lens is rotating left to achieve focus.

Focus is achieved; you must refocus if the subject moves.

> < (Blinking) Camera cannot autofocus.

Viewfinder symbols for a moving subject:

> Focus is tracking a subject moving away from the camera.

< Focus is tracking a subject moving towards the camera.

A moving subject can be tracked with the F5’s autofocus system only if it is moving while you are focusing. It cannot be tracked if a stationary subject starts moving after focus has been achieved.

Focus is locked; you must refocus if the subject moves.

> < (Blinking) Camera cannot autofocus.


C Continuous Servo AF—Uses release priority (shutter can be released even if the subject is not in focus); focus is continuously updated while the shutter release is pressed halfway or the AF-ON button is pressed. To lock focus, press the AF-L button.

Viewfinder symbols for a stationary subject:

> Lens is rotating right to achieve focus.

< Lens is rotating left to achieve focus.

Focus is achieved.

> < (Blinking) Camera cannot autofocus.

Viewfinder symbols for tracking a moving subject: 

> Focus is tracking a subject moving away from the camera.

< Focus is tracking a subject moving towards the camera.

Focus is confirmed.

> < (Blinking) Camera cannot autofocus.

(With focus tracking, the camera’s focus follows the motion of a subject and predicts its position at the time the shutter is actually fired.)


M Manual Focus—Electronic confirmation symbols appear in the viewfinder. 

Viewfinder symbols:

< The subject is not in focus; rotate the focus ring to the left.

> The subject is not in focus; rotate the focus ring to the right.

The subject is in focus.

Note: The focus indicators (> <) can be turned off using custom setting #23.

Also, some aftermarket lenses have a focusing ring that turns in a direction opposite that of a Nikkor lens. If one of these is used, the focus indicator arrows’ meanings would be reversed.


Setting the Focusing Method

Hold down the [+] button (on the top of the camera) while rotating the rear command dial until the desired setting appears on the top LCD panel:

  • [] Single-Area AF—Only the AF area you select is used regardless of subject movement.
  • five crosses Dynamic AF—The camera’s focus follows the subject’s movement and selects AF focus area based upon where the subject has moved in the frame.

With a Speedlight mounted and turned on, the camera automatically switches to single-area AF even though the Dynamic AF symbol does not change. Set the desired focusing point with the focus area selector on the camera back.


Setting the Active Focus Area

Press the focus area selector on the back of the camera in the direction you want to move the active focusing sensor. In single-area AF this selects the sensor that will be used for autofocus, while in dynamic AF this selects the initial (or primary) sensor, and the camera changes sensors as the subject moves from the initial sensor location to other areas of the picture.

If spot metering is selected, the area metered corresponds to the 4mm circle (with an EC-B screen; 6mm circle with other screens) surrounding the active AF sensor.

Only the three horizontal AF sensors are cross-hair types, and only these sensors have additional elements for low-light detection. The top sensor is skewed slightly, but the bottom sensor is horizontal, making it the only one for which horizontal patterns (or vertical patterns, when the camera is held in portrait format) could pose a problem for the AF system.

The AF sensor search pattern is useful to know, as it affects how fast focus is achieved (the camera responds faster to up-down changes than to left-right ones). In order, here's how the ordering works:

  • Center Selected: Bottom Top Left Right (in that order)
  • Bottom Selected: Center Top Left Right
  • Top Selected: Center Bottom Left Right
  • Left Selected: Center Bottom Top Right
  • Right Selected: Center Bottom Top Left


Locking the Focus Area

1. Press the shutter release partway to activate the meter.

2. Press the focus area selector on the back of the camera in the direction you want to move the active focus sensor.

3. Hold the L button on rear control panel and press the focus area selector until the LOCK indicator appears above the focus area indicator on the top LCD panel.

4. To unlock the focus area, repeat step 3, except press the selector until the LOCK indicator disappears.


Setting the Exposure Mode

Hold down the MODE button (on the top of the camera) while rotating the command dial until the desired setting appears on the LCD panel:

  • P Program—Camera sets both shutter speed and aperture; requires AF or AI-P lens.
  • S Shutter-Priority—You set the shutter speed, the camera sets the aperture; requires an AF or AI-P lens.
  • A Aperture-Priority—You set the aperture, the camera sets the shutter speed.
  • M Manual—You set both the aperture and shutter speed.


Setting Exposure Manually

1. Hold down the MODE button and rotate the rear command dial to select manual (M) exposure mode.

2. Select an aperture using the front command dial (if your lens has a CPU and is set to its minimum aperture), or set it on the lens itself. Set a shutter speed using the rear command dial. The viewfinder shows an exposure indicator bar: the 0 in the center is visible only with correct exposure, while each dot underneath represents 1/3 stop under- or overexposure; an arrow indicates more than 2 stops under- or overexposure. 

Note: The owner’s manual implies that the manual exposure settings can be locked in one step. This is misleading. Hold down the z button and individually rotate the front and rear command dials until é appears above both the aperture and shutter speed indicators.


Setting the Aperture and Shutter Speed

The camera’s meter must be active to change settings. Press the shutter release halfway to activate the meter.

With AF or AI-P lenses the aperture can be set either manually with the aperture ring, or the lens can be set to its minimum aperture to enable aperture control through the camera:

1. In aperture-priority (A) and manual (M) exposure modes, the front command dial controls the aperture in 1/3-stop increments. The lens must be set to its smallest aperture. 

2. In shutter-priority (S) and manual (M) exposure modes, the rear command dial controls the shutter speed in 1/3-stop increments.

3. In program (P) exposure mode, the rear command dial shifts the program.

When using a lens that has no CPU (those that are not AF or AI-P lenses), the aperture must be set on the lens’ aperture ring. 


Locking the Aperture Setting

Aperture lock operates only with lenses that have a CPU (AF and AI-P lenses).

1. In aperture-priority (A) and manual (M) exposure modes, rotate the front command dial to display the desired aperture.

2. Hold down the L button on the rear control panel, and rotate the front command dial until the LOCK indicator appears above the f/stop indicator on the top LCD panel and L appears in the viewfinder.

Note: The owner’s manual is incorrect about how this works! The aperture must be set before pressing the z button.

To cancel aperture lock, repeat step 2, but rotate the dial until the LOCK and L indicators disappear.


Locking the Shutter Speed Setting

1. In shutter-priority (S) and manual (M) exposure modes, rotate the rear command dial to the desired shutter speed.

2. Hold down the L button on back of the camera and rotate the rear command dial until LOCK appears above the shutter speed indicator on the top LCD panel and L appears in the viewfinder.

Note: The owner’s manual is incorrect about how this works! The shutter speed must be set before pressing the z button.

To cancel shutter speed lock, repeat step 2, but rotate the dial until the LOCK and L indicators disappear.


Exposure Compensation

1. Hold down the +/- button on top of the camera while rotating the rear command dial until the desired exposure compensation value appears on the LCD panel and viewfinder display. Compensation is indicated in 1/3 EV stops, within a range of +/–5 stops. A + value overexposes, a – value underexposes. 

2. Exposure compensation remains set until it is cancelled by performing step 1 again and setting the compensation to 0.0.

Example: Meter white snow and compensate +2 stops. The meter sets exposure as though every subject were neutral gray.  (A white subject is 2 stops brighter than neutral gray, and the exposure needs to be adjusted accordingly.)

Or (for autoexposure modes only),

1. Use center-weighted or spot metering on an appropriate area. (This method works well if there is a gray card or other subject of 18% reflectance to meter on.)

2. Lightly press and hold the shutter release to the halfway position.

Note: Custom setting #7 locks exposure automatically when the shutter release is pressed halfway.

3. Lock the exposure using the AE-L/AF-L button on the back of the camera. This locks  focus on the metered area as well. See page 170 regarding custom setting #21.

4. Re-compose and press the shutter release fully.


Setting Exposure Bracketing

1. Press the BKT button on the rear control panel and rotate the rear command dial until the BKT indicator appears. 

2. While still holding the button, turn the front command dial until the desired bracketing combination is indicated on the back LCD:

  • 2F0.3 Two shots: correct and 1/3 stop overexposed.
  • 2F0.3 — Two shots: correct and 1/3 stop underexposed.
  • 2F0.7 Two shots: correct and 2/3 stop overexposed.
  • 2F0.7 Two shots: correct and 2/3 stop underexposed.
  • 2F0.1 Two shots: correct and 1 stop overexposed.
  • 2F0.1 Two shots: correct and 1 stop underexposed.
  • 3F0.3 Three shots: correct and 1/3 stop either side. (Default setting)    
  • 3F0.7 Three shots: correct and 2/3 stop either side.
  • 3F0.1 Three shots: correct and 1 stop either side.

3. The default bracketing sequence is correct (0), under- (–), and over- (+) exposure. Custom setting #3 can be set to change this order to under- (–), correct (0), and over- (+) exposure. Exposure compensation modifies the point around which bracketing occurs.

The aperture is changed to obtain bracketed exposures in shutter-priority (S) exposure mode, while the shutter speed is changed in aperture-priority (A) and manual (M) modes (custom setting #17 can be used to change this default in manual mode, see page 170). Both shutter speed and aperture are changed in program (P) mode. If a Speedlight flash unit is attached and active, flash output is changed.

With single frame advance (S), each time you press the shutter release, the next shot in the bracketing series is taken. With continuous advance, hold the shutter release down, and the camera will stop when the bracketing series is complete.

If the end of a roll is reached during a bracketing sequence, rewind the film, load a new roll, and then press the shutter release again to resume the sequence.

When the MF-28 Multi-Control Back is in use, its bracketing settings have priority over the camera’s settings.

To cancel bracketing, repeat step 1, but rotate the rear command dial until the x indicator disappears (the number of shots and bracketing amount setting remains displayed, however, until you release the BKT button). 


Setting the Self-Timer

1. Hold down the film advance mode selector lock release button on the top of the camera while rotating the dial surrounding the rewind knob (film advance mode/self-timer selector) until it points to the self-timer symbol.

2. Close the eyepiece shutter to prevent stray light from affecting the exposure.

3. Press the shutter release.

4. The LED on the front of the camera blinks until the last 2 seconds prior to exposure, at which time it lights continuously.

The self-timer is set to fire after 10 seconds unless you change the duration using custom setting #16 (allowing a possible range of 2 to 60 seconds).

If the camera body is set for single servo autofocus, the self-timer does not activate until focus is achieved. Once the self-timer is activated, the shutter fires regardless of focusing status (e.g., if the subject moves).

The bulb setting cannot be used with the self-timer. The camera defaults to a shutter speed of 1/250 second if you attempt this.

To cancel, hold down the lock release and rotate the mode selector back to the desired film advance setting.


Setting a Bulb or Long Exposure

Bulb:

With bulb, the length of the exposure is controlled by how long you hold down the shutter release.

1. Hold down the mode button and rotate the rear command dial to select manual (M) exposure mode.

2. Release the mode button; rotate the rear command dial again to set the shutter speed to BULB.

3. Set the desired aperture using the front command dial (or the lens aperture ring for non-AF or AI-P lenses).

4. Press and hold the shutter release for the length of the exposure.

Consider using an MC-20, MC-30, or other remote control release to prevent camera shake.


Long Exposure:

With long exposure, the camera’s timer controls the length of the exposure.

1. Press and hold the CSM button on the rear control panel while rotating the rear command dial until custom setting 19-0 appears on the rear LCD.

2. While still holding the CSM button, rotate the front command dial to set 19-1 to enable long exposure.

3. Set the shutter speed on camera as usual; instead of stopping at 30 seconds (indicated as 30”), the camera now allows additional times up to 30 minutes (30’), in 1/3-stop increments.

To cancel long exposure capability, repeat steps 1 and 2, but set 19-0 instead of 19-1.

Note: Long exposures may exhaust the camera’s batteries! With alkaline AA batteries, the camera can remain powered for a maximum of approximately 5 hours at 68° F (20° C).


Mirror Lock-Up

1. Put the camera on a tripod and frame the subject.

2. Set the camera to manual (M) exposure mode, set exposure, and focus manually. Autoexposure and autofocus modes are not possible with the mirror locked up.

3. Rotate the small mirror lock-up lever next to the lens mount away from the lens until it locks (about 90°).

4. Close the eyepiece shutter so no spurious light enters the camera through the eyepiece (there’s nothing to see anyway, and this reminds you that the mirror is locked up).

Warning: Do not leave the mirror locked up with the lens cap off except during exposures. Direct sun entering the lens may damage the shutter curtain.


Taking Multiple Exposures

1. Press the button with overlapping rectangles just in front of the top LCD panel, and rotate the rear command dial until the multiple exposure indicator appears in the LCD panel.

2. Set any necessary exposure compensation (often –1 EV is used for two overlapping exposures, depending upon the lighting, of course).

3. Take your first shot. The film does not advance and the multiple exposure indicator will blink. If you wish to have more than two exposures on the frame, repeat step 1 at this point.

4. Take your final shot. The multiple exposure indicator then disappears and the camera returns to normal operation.

Note: You can cancel multiple exposures before taking the first shot by holding the multiple exposure button and rotating the rear command dial until the ~ indicator disappears from the LCD. To cancel multiple exposures after taking the first shot using single servo AF, switch to manual focus, put the lens cap on, and press the shutter release. To cancel after taking the first shot with continuous servo AF, put the lens cap on and press the shutter release. Pressing the reset buttons also cancels the multiple exposure function after the first shot has been taken. 

Custom setting #13 can be used to perform continuous multiple exposures, however I do not recommend it. While this results in less work when making more than two exposures on a frame, it is too easy to forget that the camera is set on chronic multiple exposure, resulting in lost photos. The one time this makes sense is when you want to get a large number of overlapping exposures by setting the camera to CH frame advance—to capture a “soft” feeling of leaves blowing in gentle wind, for example. Unfortunately, the F5’s frame advance is so fast, that setting precise exposure in such situations is a little bit of a guess, since you’re not going to be able to count how many exposures it fires off.


Depth-of-Field (DOF) Preview

1. Set the aperture.

2. Press the small, depth-of-field preview button on the front of the camera (above the mirror lock-up lever).

3. Look through the viewfinder to judge the approximate depth of field you will get at that aperture.

Note: While DOF preview is active, you cannot adjust the aperture with the front command dial; you must use the aperture ring. Also, autofocus is disabled.


Setting Rear-Curtain Sync

1. Set the Speedlight’s switch to TTL mode. (Rear-curtain sync can also be used in auto and manual flash modes, however only in A, S, or M modes.)

2. To select a specific shutter speed, set the camera to shutter-priority (S) or manual (M) exposure mode. (In P or A mode, slow-sync is selected automatically.)

3. Hold the flash button on the camera’s rear control panel and rotate the rear command dial until the REAR indicator appears on the camera’s rear LCD.

4. For SB-24, -25, and -26 only: Set the Speedlight’s sync switch to the REAR setting. You should see a REAR indicator on the camera’s rear LCD.


Setting Slow-Sync Flash

1. For the most automatic operation, set the Speedlight’s switches to TTL and normal modes (manual, auto, and repeating flash modes can also be set). 

2. Set the camera to program (P) or aperture-priority (A) mode.

3. Hold the flash button on the camera’s rear control panel and rotate the rear command dial until the SLOW indicator appears on the camera’s rear LCD.


Adjusting the Viewfinder’s Diopter Setting

1. Point the camera at a distant scene and focus the lens at infinity. Or, remove the lens and use the etchings on the focusing screen to judge sharpness.

2. To adjust focus, pull the knob labeled + – on the right side of the prism outward. Look through the viewfinder and rotate the knob until the central area of the viewfinder appears sharpest (towards – if nearsighted, towards + if farsighted).

3. Push the knob back in towards the camera to lock the setting. Be careful not to rotate it when pushing it back in.

Note: It should be possible to see the entire frame in the viewfinder, even with glasses on. If you wear glasses while shooting, make sure that the diopter setting is at –1 (the + and – symbols on the button are parallel to the plane of the top LCD).


Changing the Focusing Screen

1. Remove the prism by pressing the finder release button to the lower left of the eyepiece and pulling the viewfinder towards the back of the camera.

2. Slip a fingernail or small tweezers under the tab on the rear left-hand side of the screen and lift out. 

3. Insert the new screen by sliding the front edge into place first, then lowering the rear edge.

Note: Some focusing screen-lens combinations require a compensation factor to be entered into the camera via custom setting #18. 


Illuminating the LCD Panels

Rotate the camera’s power switch to the light bulb symbol and let go. The LCD panels will be lit for as long as the meter remains on or until the shutter is released.


F5 Custom Settings

Setting a Custom Setting

1. Press and hold the CSM button on the rear control panel while rotating the rear command dial until the setting number you desire is displayed on the rear LCD.

2. While still holding the CSM button, rotate the front command dial until the desired option number is displayed on the rear LCD.

To cancel a custom setting, simply repeat these steps, but select the default option (typically 0) in step 2.

  • 0 User’s customized set of camera settings — 0-A = customized settings A (default), 0-B = customized settings B
  1. Continuous servo AF  —1-0 = release priority (default), 1-1 = focus priority
  2. Single servo AF 2-0 = focus priority (default), 2-1 = release priority
  3. Bracketing sequence 3-0 = correct, under, over (default), 3-1 = under, correct, over
  4. AF activated by shutter release — 4-0 = enabled (default), 4-1 = disabled
  5. AE lock method 5-0 = exposure value (EV) used (default), 5-1 = shutter speed and aperture locked
  6. Rotation of front and rear command dials — 6-0 = L to R rotation travels sequence (default), 6-1 = R to L rotation travels through sequence
  7. AE lock activated by shutter release — 7-0 = disabled (default), 7-1 = enabled
  8. Auto advance to frame when camera back is closed #1 8-0 = disabled (default), 8-1 = enabled*
  9. CH film advance speed 9-0 = 8 fps (default), CH8 = 8 fps, CH6 = 6 fps
  10. CL film advance speed 10-0 = 3 fps (default), CL3 = 3 fps, CL4 = 4 fps, CL5 = 5 fps
  11. LED for time exposures 11-0 = alert LED doesn’t blink† (default), 11-1 = alert LED blinks‡
  12. Automatic film stop 12-0 = disabled (default), E-- = disabled, E35 = stop at frame 35‡, E36 = stop at frame 36
  13. Multiple exposure 13-0 = cancelled after 2nd exposure* (default), 13-1 = enabled until cancelled‡
  14. Center-weighted area 14-0 = 12mm diameter (default), C8 = 8mm diameter‡, C12 = 12mm diameter, C15 = 15mm diameter‡, C20 = 20mm diameter‡, A = average entire frame, PC = user setting via computer
  15. Meter shut-off delay 15-0 = 16 seconds (default), L4 = 4 seconds†, L8 = 8 seconds, L16 = 16 seconds, L32 = 32 seconds‡
  16. Self-timer delay from 16-0 = 10 seconds (default), 2 to 60 seconds, Lx (x is a number from 2 to 60 representing the number of seconds delay)
  17. Bracketing in M mode 17-0 = vary shutter speed (default), 00A = vary flash level, 01A = vary aperture, 10A = vary shutter speed, 11A = vary shutter speed and aperture
  18. Focus screen compensation 18-0 = no compensation (default), -2.0 to 2.0 in 1/2-stop intervals
  19. Long shutter speeds 30s to 30m — 19-0 = disabled (default), 19-1 = enabled‡
  20. Maximum flash sync speed 20-0 = 1/250 (default), 60 = 1/60, 80 = 1/80, 100 = 1/100, 125 = 1/125, 160 = 1/160, 200 = 1/200, 250 = 1/250, 300 = 1/300‡ (1/300 is allowed only in S or M exposure modes. Requires an SB-20, -22, -23, -24, -25, -26, -27, or -28 and reduces the flash unit’s guide number to approximately 14.)
  21. AE/AF lock button 21-0 = exposure and autofocus lock (default), AEL = exposure lock only, AFL = autofocus lock only‡, L-L = exposure and autofocus lock
  22. Front command dial for aperture control — 22-0 = enabled (default), 22-1 = disabled‡
  23. Focus indicators  >  <  in AF mode — 23-0 = enabled (default), 23-1 = disabled†
  24. Bracketing 24-0 = ambient light and flash (default), 01E = bracket using ambient exposure only, 10E = bracket using flash only, 11E = ambient light and flash 

*Settings recommended for ease of use.

†Settings recommended to conserve battery power.

‡Settings I recommend avoiding unless you understand the consequences they have on battery usage or camera operation.

Note: You may, of course, disagree with these assessments. They represent how I use the camera and early findings on battery life. If you deviate from these recommendations, at least make sure you understand why you want to deviate from them! Random fiddling with custom settings can put your F5 into bizarre states in which the camera will operate differently than you expect, causing you to miss the picture you’re trying to take.

The F5 allows additional custom settings through linkage with a personal computer using the AC-1WE or AC-1ME packages. They include:

  • Slowest flash sync speed (1/60 second to 30 seconds)
  • Variable aperture during zooming
  • Function of lock button can be changed to alter shutter speed and aperture settings
  • Disable focus area from shifting diagonally (e.g., from left to top area); only horizontal or vertical shifts are possible.
  • Adjustable shutter release delay up to 1 second
  • Disable focus area indicator in viewfinder
  • Data imprint on frame 0
  • Bulb or time release option
  • Self-timer LED lights when shutter is released (helpful in remote use).
  • Focus lock in Single Servo AF with continuous motor drive
  • Multiple camera synchronization (enables shooting at 16 fps!)
  • Warning when data storage area is full
  • Select data to be kept by camera
  • Lock desired camera settings
  • Display of 1005-pixel CCD color distribution
  • User-settable program (P) mode

Since the F5 is rarely used in the field with a personal computer, these settings are not covered here. Consult the manual that came with the AC-1WE or AC-1ME package.

F5 Program (P) Mode Settings 

  • EV0: f/1.4 at 2 seconds
  • EV1: f/1.4 at 1 second
  • EV2: f/1.4 at 1/2
  • EV3: 3 f/1.4 at 1/4
  • EV4: 4 f/1.4 at 1/8
  • EV6: f/2 at 1/15
  • EV8: f/2.8 at 1/30
  • EV10: f/4 at 1/60
  • EV12: f/5.6 at 1/125
  • EV14: f/8 at 1/250
  • EV16: f/11 at 1/500
  • EV18: f/16 at 1/1000
  • EV: 20* f/16 at 1/4000

*Exceeds limit of autofocus capability 

You have full control over the Programmed Auto mode and can easily alter or “shift” the above program by rotating the rear command dial until the desired shutter speed or aperture appears.

If an asterisk (*) appears after the P on the top LCD panel (]*), this indicates that the basic program has been shifted; the camera maintains this alteration until you switch modes or turn the camera off. 

Note: If the lens being used has a smaller maximum aperture than shown above, shutter speeds will be longer than shown in order to maintain correct exposure.


Maximum Aperture for Using Flash in Program 

In Program exposure mode, at ISO 100 the F5 automatically programs apertures from f/4 to the lens’ minimum aperture (typically this is f/16) when flash is used. There is no benefit in using a lens faster than f/4 with an F5 in program mode using flash and ISO 100 film!

ISO 25, maximum aperture f/2.8

50 f/3.3

100 f/4

200 f/4.8

400 f/5.6

800 f/6.7

1000 f/7.1

Note: The F5 has a limit of ISO 1600 for flash photography.


Nikkor Lenses That Can’t Be Used with the F5

  • Non-AI close-up extension tubes
  • PK-1, PK-2, PK-3, PN-1, PB-4, and K2 ring
  • 28mm f/4 PC Serial numbers up to 180900 not usable without modification
  • 35mm f/2.8 PC Serial numbers up to 906200 not usable without modification
  • 35mm f/3.5 PC 
  • 80mm f/2.8 for F3AF No matrix metering, no P or S mode
  • 200mm f/3.5 for F3AF No matrix metering, no P or S mode
  • AF TC-16 Teleconverter for F3AF TC-16A  required 
  • Early versions of the 500mm f/8 lens can be mounted on an F5 only if the tripod mounting collar is first rotated out of the way 90°. This is not the case with newer versions. 
  • The PF-4 Reprocopy requires the PA-4 camera holder adapter.
  • The PB-6 Bellows accessory requires using a PK-12 or PK-13 extension tube, or alternately, a PK-11A extension tube and two 
  • PB-6D bellows-rail spacers.



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