Nikon N4004: An Early Autofocus Film SLR

A PHSNE member’s collection boasts a Nikon N4004, the North American version of the Nikon F-401.

Introduced in 1987, it was one of Nikon’s earliest models designed for novices. Its autofocus feature was modeled after their 1986 model, oddly numbered the F-501 (or N2020 in North America). This 35mm SLR “lacked many of the advanced features that more seasoned amateurs and professionals required, but it was a harbinger of the future as it included a pronounced, built-in grip as well as an integrated TTL Flash that is now commonplace on all but the most high-end SLR cameras” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikon_F-401).

Now routine, the F-401 introduced a thumbwheel to adjust the aperture, replacing a lens aperture ring. “Furthermore, the camera’s lack of support for AI lenses meant that while all previous Nikon lenses could be mounted to the camera, none supported automatic exposure TTL metering.” The numbering of the series is perplexing. As noted, the F-501 was introduced in 1986 and the F-401 in 1987; later models were the F-801 introduced in 1988 and the F-601 introduced in 1991. Current N4004 selling prices range from $20 to $75 on eBay.

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Contact Show Manager John Dockery

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