The six most dominant attributes about the F6 immediately coming to mind are:
1) Ergonomics: The camera is phenomenal-feeling in the hand. There’s something about the combination of rubber used for the grip and underlying sturdiness of form that produces a reassuring tactile grip. The F6 is made of a solid, magnesium alloy chassis that’s super strong – yet deceptively light weight. At the same time it feels substantial; sturdy. Not “wimpy” and “cheap” like so many of today’s digital cameras. One of my favorite tag lines from the F6 campaign uses the term “Extrasensory Perfection: designed for all 5 senses by engineers possessing a 6th.” It’s really true. The sum of its parts is somehow almost sentient.
2) Form Factor: You can shoot it configured small and light, or add the MB-40 grip to provide more to hang on to and better balance when working with certain lenses. Most of the time I have the Nikon MB-40 mounted to the camera, providing better battery life, additional shutter release and focus activation options, and increasing that reassuring feeling in the hand. There are times out traveling though when it’s just plain easier to stowe the smaller configuration. Again, somehow the camera’s ergonomic reassurance isn’t dependent upon one configuration or the other. Either way it’s nimble and reassuring.
3) Sounds: The F6 sounds like the precision instrument it is. No loud, jarring bombastic noises to draw attention, just precise, quiet, efficient. It’s the epitome of finesse; power under control, class, grace.
4) Creative Lighting System Capabilities: Because the F6 has all Creative Lighting System circuitry it allows advanced flash features other cameras do not. This is important because you don’t need heavy, large studio lights to run off-camera flash. The Creative Lighting System is a nimble, transportable and extremely powerful lighting solution not shackled to large power packs and studio settings.
5) Compatibility with older and newer lenses: Not only will the F6 take nearly every lens Nikon has ever made, it will also meter and focus with a wide variety of lenses. It goes beyond the form factor and mechanics of the F-mount born in 1959 upon launch of the fabled Nikon F, the first in the noble line of pro-series “F’s.” The F6’s brain has evolved along side its hardware allowing greater compatibility with a wider range of Nikon lenses and accessories. The FUNC button for example, allows you to pre-load older lens profiles into the camera so even though they lack CPU contacts to tell the camera which aperture they’re set to – the camera extrapolates based on your input, allowing correct exposure.
6) Its place in Nikon history. I enjoy immensely the fact that it’s the best 35mm film camera ever made, by anyone – and will always occupy that spot in the Nikon line up.
I could go on and on – but you get the idea. In a sense it’s a shame Nikon ceased design and development of film cameras after the F6 product, but I prefer to think of it another way: they took everything they’d learned since even before building the first F in 1959 and refined, finessed and engineered it into one, final hurrah: The F6. Thank you, Nikon.