A (very) short review of the Nikon F55

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Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,223
A (very) short review of the Nikon F55
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Nikon F55 with 50mm f/1.8 AF-D lens

The F55 is one of the last film SLRs made by Nikon, introduced in 2002, and presumably cancelled in 2007. It was designed to be low cost at introduction, and uses plastic where other Nikons would use metal, in particular on the lens mount. However it is now available on eBay for around £5 with strap (but no lens), or with a lens for ~£20, which makes it one of the cheapest Nikon SLRs available. I bought this camera to be a lightweight camera that I can slip in my jacket pocket with a 50mm f/1.8 lens mounted.

In terms of features it has most things that a modern SLR will have - auto focus, matrix metering (with suitable lenses), built in TTL flash, PASM mode dials, EV adjustment (film speed is set from the film DX code. So with uncoded cartridges you can use this for 25ASA - 400ASA film). They're often on eBay with variations of zoom lenses in the 28-80mm, 28-100mm range but it's not as compact as with the 50mm prime.

There are a number of issues with the F55 - it won't meter with manual focus lenses although you can use manual mode and a seperate meter / sunny 16. It won't autofocus lenses that don't have the screw focussing mechanism, i.e. it'll only focus AF or AF-D lenses, not AF-S. The lens mount is plastic so you need to be careful how you hold the camera. Also there was a bug in the camera such that the autofocus mechanism broke in some cameras. This was fixed by Nikon, but of course this fix is no longer available, so if you buy one make sure that the AF is described as working. It also only supports TTL metering with the internal flash, for automatic flash you'll need to use one with "computer" metering.

So are there better Nikon AF cameras for similar money ? Yes, the F65 and F75 are better cameras, but are more expensive. They're bigger and 2 - 5 times the price - in the end this is a £5 camera. Here are some photos I took with it on a recent morning walk. All photos on Kodak ProImage, exposed at 100ASA. Scanned with SilverFast on ProScan 10T @ 5000 ppi and rescaled to fit. ICE used on the scans, no other changes.

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