Using Z-cameras on Safari

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I don't see anything here that couldn't be shot with a D750/D8xx and the same lens setup. Mirrorless doesn't gain any advantages with apertures at 2.8 and smaller. On top of that none of his shots are subjects coming towards him which is a more extensive test for any camera, be it DSLR or MILC.

Also his statement about Sony either means he doesn't know how to handle Sony AF as well or he's just more familiar with how Nikon's AF system works. Thom should just post links to high res images instead of making unfounded claims.
 
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A very interesting read, thanks!

When I purchased my Z7, I sold my D800. I kept my D500 for action photography, but I'm thinking more and more to sell my D500. It's collecting dust right now, which is a shame. The D500 is certainly the better camera for action photography, but is it impossible to do on the Z7? Of course not.

It reminds me of when I bought my D800. I couldn't sell my D3 for the same reasons. Because the D800 is a pure landscape camera and the D3 is a sports camera. When I went on a workshop in Alaska to photograph the bald eagle, I didn't use my D3. I really loved the image quality, dynamic range and resolution of the D800, the D3 stayed in my bag. It was a funny sight; all the other photographers were shooting with their D4's while I was shooting with my slow D800. I think I managed fine: link.

If I would be doing the same now ... I would certainly try to do this with my Z7.

The more I read these kind of articles (Tom Hogan, Brad Hill, etc), I'm more and more tempted to sell my D500. It's a bit hard for me emotionally, because it would mean I would close my DSLR-chapter for good. On the other hand, the money I get could be used for new glass like the 500 PF for example ... time will tell I guess. :)
 
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I don't see anything here that couldn't be shot with a D750/D8xx and the same lens setup.
Thom essentially said that:

"My shooting partner in the vehicle was using a pair of D850's. He got some shots I would have liked, I got some shots he would have liked. But it had nothing to do with which cameras we were using."
 
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I don't see anything here that couldn't be shot with a D750/D8xx and the same lens setup. Mirrorless doesn't gain any advantages with apertures at 2.8 and smaller. On top of that none of his shots are subjects coming towards him which is a more extensive test for any camera, be it DSLR or MILC.https://www.nikoncafe.com/threads/nikon-z6-image-discussion-thread.313587/page-24#post-4017227
I believe that was the point Jonathan. He was showing that there was nothing he previously shot with DSLRs that he couldn't shoot with the Z6 & Z7, that the cameras were fully capable.

As far as mirrorless not have any advantages beyond f/2.8, there's still the option for silent shooting (not possibly with a DSLR other than the D850), the EVF (helpful for ensuring proper exposure of a scene without needing to shoot and then chimp).

As for your comment about not shooting subjects coming towards the camera, I used my Z6 to shoot some collegiate T&F earlier this year, and the camera/lens had no issue grabbing focus of athletes sprinting towards me in close quarters. The camera's AF system is incredibly capable in my own, first-hand experience.
 
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I believe that was the point Jonathan. He was showing that there was nothing he previously shot with DSLRs that he couldn't shoot with the Z6 & Z7, that the cameras were fully capable.

As far as mirrorless not have any advantages beyond f/2.8, there's still the option for silent shooting (not possibly with a DSLR other than the D850), the EVF (helpful for ensuring proper exposure of a scene without needing to shoot and then chimp).

As for your comment about not shooting subjects coming towards the camera, I used my Z6 to shoot some collegiate T&F earlier this year, and the camera/lens had no issue grabbing focus of athletes sprinting towards me in close quarters. The camera's AF system is incredibly capable in my own, first-hand experience.
I don't think any tiger is going to hear a shutter click from inside a decked out safari Land Rover. I have no doubt a Z6 and Z7 are capable of shooting wildlife in Africa, but why spend over $2K/3K USD per camera that a used sub $1K Nikon DSLR can shoot just as easily and for about the same weight minus the FTZ adapter? Also why use the EVF for exposure verification, isn't that what metering, aperture/shutter control, auto ISO are meant to do? Regarding subjects coming towards the camera, I don't see that in any of Thom's shots.
 
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I don't think any tiger is going to hear a shutter click from inside a decked out safari Land Rover. I have no doubt a Z6 and Z7 are capable of shooting wildlife in Africa, but why spend over $2K/3K USD per camera that a used sub $1K Nikon DSLR can shoot just as easily and for about the same weight minus the FTZ adapter?
Per Thom's write-up:

I chose to do an experiment this year, as I often do when I travel for pleasure instead of a work-specific purpose: I decided to shoot entirely using Nikon mirrorless. In particular, a Nikon Z6 and Z7. No D850, no D5, just two Z's.
A number of reasons backed this decision:
(1) people don't think mirrorless can do safari well
(2) I wanted to travel as light as possible but stay full frame
(3) I wanted to compare my most recent Nikon DSLR experience in Africa with Nikon's new mirrorless gear
(4) I'm still waiting for Nikon to get its marketing act together and tell everyone what their cameras can actually do, so I just decided to just do so myself.

So to answer your question of "why", it sounds like because he wanted to see how the mirrorless cameras handled shooting in a situation where he has previously and traditionally used DSLRs, and wanted to showcase those results because Nikon's marketing department is nigh useless.

Also why use the EVF for exposure verification, isn't that what metering, aperture/shutter control, auto ISO are meant to do?
Also from Thom's write-up:
  • The EVF coupled with magnification makes a better-than-spotting scope (or binoculars) scanning device.
  • The EVF allowed me to see what I was doing during near pitch black conditions (I shot the mostly nocturnal Hyenas at ISO 25600 successfully, for example
  • The EVF allowed me to see what I was shooting in bright conditions (the rear LCD can wash out in bright sun, and the DSLR viewfinder can wash out shooting into the sun, too).
  • Complex metering situations, such as lions in foreground at sunrise, are far easier to evaluate when you're looking at what the camera is actually going to do.

Regarding subjects coming towards the camera, I don't see that in any of Thom's shots.
While you're correct that there weren't any of those images shown in this initial write-up, I will again reference Thom's words:

You're not even going to see my best shots from this trip in this article because I haven't gotten around to processing them.


Thom has addressed all of your points in the article. From an outsider's perspective, you appear to be coming across as very accusatory/confrontational. I'm not certain if this is because you don't agree with Thom's statements regarding Sony camera bodies, or if it's something else. It's OK to not agree with someone's opinion, but I don't think there's any denying that the images shared throughout the article showcase the Nikon Z's abilities as a camera system.
 
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I don't think any tiger is going to hear a shutter click from inside a decked out safari Land Rover.
It's highly unlikely that anyone is ever going to see a tiger while on safari in Africa. For that test of the Z system, India is a better alternative. Regardless, the issue is not whether the tiger is going to hear the click; it's whether the click is going to change the tiger's behavior. If a tiger is like any of the many lions I've photographed on safari at a very close distance, hearing a shutter click won't phase it, just like hearing the people talking or the auto's engine running doesn't phase them.

I have no doubt a Z6 and Z7 are capable of shooting wildlife in Africa, but why spend over $2K/3K USD per camera that a used sub $1K Nikon DSLR can shoot just as easily and for about the same weight minus the FTZ adapter?
Nobody I know of has said or written that to make great photos while on safari one needs a Z6 or Z7, so I don't understand your point.

Also why use the EVF for exposure verification, isn't that what metering, aperture/shutter control, auto ISO are meant to do?
I haven't used an electronic view finder but I've read many reports that it would help me nail the ideal exposure before releasing the shutter in ways that aren't available using a dSLR's Live View or optical view finder.

Regarding subjects coming towards the camera, I don't see that in any of Thom's shots.
My experience in nearly two weeks on safari in Africa is that subjects coming toward the camera are doing so at such a relatively slow speed that the auto focus of my D7000, which was discontinued years ago, was never taxed. If you want to determine the capabilities of the Z system's auto focus when shooting a subject moving toward the camera, a safari in the African bush is not a good situation for doing so.
 
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I don't see anything here that couldn't be shot with a D750/D8xx and the same lens setup. Mirrorless doesn't gain any advantages with apertures at 2.8 and smaller. On top of that none of his shots are subjects coming towards him which is a more extensive test for any camera, be it DSLR or MILC.

Also his statement about Sony either means he doesn't know how to handle Sony AF as well or he's just more familiar with how Nikon's AF system works. Thom should just post links to high res images instead of making unfounded claims.
As he notes early in his report, "You're not even going to see my best shots from this trip in this article because I haven't gotten around to processing them."
 
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Per Thom's write-up:

I chose to do an experiment this year, as I often do when I travel for pleasure instead of a work-specific purpose: I decided to shoot entirely using Nikon mirrorless. In particular, a Nikon Z6 and Z7. No D850, no D5, just two Z's.
A number of reasons backed this decision:
(1) people don't think mirrorless can do safari well
(2) I wanted to travel as light as possible but stay full frame
(3) I wanted to compare my most recent Nikon DSLR experience in Africa with Nikon's new mirrorless gear
(4) I'm still waiting for Nikon to get its marketing act together and tell everyone what their cameras can actually do, so I just decided to just do so myself.

So to answer your question of "why", it sounds like because he wanted to see how the mirrorless cameras handled shooting in a situation where he has previously and traditionally used DSLRs, and wanted to showcase those results because Nikon's marketing department is nigh useless.



Also from Thom's write-up:

  • The EVF coupled with magnification makes a better-than-spotting scope (or binoculars) scanning device.
  • The EVF allowed me to see what I was doing during near pitch black conditions (I shot the mostly nocturnal Hyenas at ISO 25600 successfully, for example
  • The EVF allowed me to see what I was shooting in bright conditions (the rear LCD can wash out in bright sun, and the DSLR viewfinder can wash out shooting into the sun, too).
  • Complex metering situations, such as lions in foreground at sunrise, are far easier to evaluate when you're looking at what the camera is actually going to do.



While you're correct that there weren't any of those images shown in this initial write-up, I will again reference Thom's words:

You're not even going to see my best shots from this trip in this article because I haven't gotten around to processing them.


Thom has addressed all of your points in the article. From an outsider's perspective, you appear to be coming across as very accusatory/confrontational. I'm not certain if this is because you don't agree with Thom's statements regarding Sony camera bodies, or if it's something else. It's OK to not agree with someone's opinion, but I don't think there's any denying that the images shared throughout the article showcase the Nikon Z's abilities as a camera system.
So how did wildlife photographers take pictures in the past without the EVF? Same could of been said about any EVF on most mirrorless cameras. Nothing unique there.

Okay so he didn't post his best shots, but he had time to post his not-so-best shots? Why not post the good ones first as a teaser, makes no sense? Also I see nothing compelling with his Hyena photos, he should of brought a D5 instead if low light was going to be an issue.

Most modern cameras are up-to-the-task of shooting all but the demanding subjects. I've shot everything from Olympus, Panasonic, Fuji, Sony and Nikon MILCs and it's all the same. If he's lacking proficiency in one camera system, he should really be more concerned about his technique and not blaming the camera. The Z is fine like any other camera nowadays, but I don't see anything showcasing the strengths of the system when Nikon has better suited cameras for much cheaper. If Nikon wants to hype the Z system, they should be already touting how you can have mirrorless with a full set of super telephoto lenses right off the bat. No need to wait!

I would of been more impressed had he just gone to his backyard to shoot bugs while sipping on a margarita on a lawn chair using the Z + FTZ + 105mm 2.8 VR Macro and utilized live-view + the silent shutter or gone night street shooting somewhere in the Ukraine while using the new 85mm 1.8 S lens. These are areas where mirrorless would show it's fangs much better.
 
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So how did wildlife photographers take pictures in the past without the EVF? Same could of been said about any EVF on most mirrorless cameras. Nothing unique there.

Okay so he didn't post his best shots, but he had time to post his not-so-best shots? Why not post the good ones first as a teaser, makes no sense? Also I see nothing compelling with his Hyena photos, he should of brought a D5 instead if low light was going to be an issue.

Most modern cameras are up-to-the-task of shooting all but the demanding subjects. I've shot everything from Olympus, Panasonic, Fuji, Sony and Nikon MILCs and it's all the same. If he's lacking proficiency in one camera system, he should really be more concerned about his technique and not blaming the camera. The Z is fine like any other camera nowadays, but I don't see anything showcasing the strengths of the system when Nikon has better suited cameras for much cheaper. If Nikon wants to hype the Z system, they should be already touting how you can have mirrorless with a full set of super telephoto lenses right off the bat. No need to wait!

I would of been more impressed had he just gone to his backyard to shoot bugs while sipping on a margarita on a lawn chair using the Z + FTZ + 105mm 2.8 VR Macro and utilized live-view + the silent shutter or gone night street shooting somewhere in the Ukraine while using the new 85mm 1.8 S lens. These are areas where mirrorless would show it's fangs much better.
You're picking an odd hill to die on Jonathan.

Again, I'll reiterate that Tom said he's shot many a safari with the D850 and D5, and wanted to take his Z6 & Z7 with him on this one to really test those cameras to see if there were scenarios where the DSLRs would've clearly performed better than the mirrorless cameras. Thom found that really wasn't the case, and was very pleased with both cameras.

In fact, Thom said that the mirrorless cameras even had some advantages over the DSLRs. The EVF helped with composing and exposing for a backlit shot (shooting in to the sun with a DSLR is no fun), as well as helping see in low light (with no digital amplification in an OVF, your visibility is dictated by the amount of available light).

I don't really know what else to tell you, but you've certainly made your emphatic disdain for Thom clear.
 
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You're picking an odd hill to die on Jonathan.
I agree, not quite sure I even follow your (Jon) logic. But, to each his own. . .

I don't really know what else to tell you, but you've certainly made your emphatic disdain for Thom clear.
Or is it disdain for the Z line and being smitten by all things Sony? Whatever, I value your thoughts Jon, as I do Thom's experiences.
 
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I think the more interesting question for Thom is not whether the Z is capable on a safari, but now that he's had experience with the (currently) best Z and DSLR systems, what would he choose to bring the on the next safari?
 
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It realy is Steven Roy. Did you think I was lying?
Does anybody see more than 3 photos in the article? I see a bunch of "bythom INT BOTS ..." where the images don't load. They appear to be bad URLs.
 
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It's highly unlikely that anyone is ever going to see a tiger while on safari in Africa.
It depends on whether they know where to look!

Tigers can be photographed in the Karoo where they roam, hunt and breed in the wild over many hundreds of acres in a Tiger Sanctuary.

If you go there, you will be caged inside a steel-meshed re-enforced vehicle and the camera had better be rugged and waterproof because you are highly likely to get sprayed!


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Somehow he missed me, but my friend caught it full-blast in the face several times.
 
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I don't see anything here that couldn't be shot with a D750/D8xx and the same lens setup. Mirrorless doesn't gain any advantages with apertures at 2.8 and smaller. On top of that none of his shots are subjects coming towards him which is a more extensive test for any camera, be it DSLR or MILC.
His point was that he felt the Z6 and Z7 did as well as he could have with the DSLR, but with a smaller form factor.
 
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It reminds me of when I bought my D800. I couldn't sell my D3 for the same reasons.
Funny, I nearly did it the same way: Sold my D3 for D810, later sold my D810 for Z7. Really loved the D3 but the Z7 is so much better for my type of shooting...
 
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Stunning Thom!
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I’ve just done 2 weeks in the Kimberley’s (NW Australia) with only a Z7. Absolutely thrilled with the results. I carried the 24-70/4S, 14-30/4S and AFS 70-200/2.8. The Kimberleys is a dust bowl in the dry season, and I did get dust on the sensor and the auto dust removal is useless; but a Rocket blower and ultimately swabbing worked fine.

Battery life was great, and the 120gB cards get almost a thousand RAWs. All I want now is an S-series lightweight 70-200, or 70-300 and the D5 and the (previously) lighweight ‘travel’ D810 will be off to the knackers yard.
 
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