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Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?

  
 
Chay Nick
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Hi, on a daily basis I photograph wildlife, mammals such as deer, deer, wolves and all kinds of birds, but I do not do BIF. I use a hideout tent and camouflage nets for this purpose.
My equipment is Nikon d500 + Nikkor 300mm PF + tc1,4. Now I am thinking of buying a Nikon d850 + Nikkor 500mm PF for this set. I would get a very good quality of photos, the Nikon ergonomics suits me very well, but I'm worried about the shutter noise which is supposedly even greater than in the d500, which may result in even more scaring the animals.
In connection with this problem, I am also considering the Sony a9II + 200-600mm. I would have a silent camera, but the set would be heavier, which worries me because I have a problem with my knee and I count every gram of equipment. I don't like Sony's handling either.
The last option is the Canon R5 + Canon 100-500mm L. Here the handling would be less of a problem than in Sony, but the lens is too dark for me and probably a bit worse optically than the 200-600mm Sony.
All in all, if it wasn't for the shutter noise, I would definitely have bought a d850 + 500mm PF and waited for Nikon to release the Z6III / z7III / z8? and an AF similar to that of the Z9i via an adapter, I would use 500mm PF.
Is it worth pushing the Nikon d850 in 2022? I will be grateful for all suggestions.



May 09, 2022 at 05:23 AM
OwlsEyes
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Chay,
Welcome to FM.
Before looking at your gear question, I want to share how envious I am of your situation. If you photograph animals like deer, wolves, and bird species on "a daily basis," then you have a rare opportunity that many of us can only wish to have. This alone is the most important point to me.

regarding your gear, I just could not love the D850 because of its loud shutter noise. I found that it disrupted my subjects, and even cause them to flee. While the files from the camera are amazing, if you are shooting near your animal, the shutter can (and will) disrupt behavior. While you can use both the D500 and D850 with an electronic shutter, the AF performance is diminished.

The best Nikon camera for your situation is the Z9, and most people here will recommend this. I recently got my Z9 and it is pretty incredible. The AF is strikingly good, as its frame rate, and silent shutter. Sadly, it is very expensive and hard to get right now. Clearly the next iteration of Z-bodies lower-priced Z-bodies will have some of this tech.
I'll offer you two choices... Get a Z6ii w/ 500PF and learn to make the most of it. Your subjects are right for this camera. It is an amazing low light camera and the AF is accurate and swift... just not as fas as the Z9/A9 etc... Because you do not shoot flight, it will be just fine. I use this camera with the 100-400S (previously 200-400G).
Alternatively, if you don't mind leaving Nikon, I would opt for the A9ii + 200-600. Will the lens is a little slower, it is a brilliant optic and the A9ii is one of the best AFing cameras made today.

cheers,
bruce



May 09, 2022 at 05:43 AM
Chay Nick
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Thanks for the answer. I was thinking about z6II or even z7II, is their AF similar? Can you use the electronic shutter without any problems and shoot silently?
I like the Sony a9II quite well, also the photos produced by the 200-600mm lens look pretty cool, but the weight of this lens is not that nice anymore. 2.4 kg with a tripod foot, plus 0.7 kg the camera itself is a bit big, especially since I am used to a lightweight set.



May 09, 2022 at 07:10 AM
NissanPatrol
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?



If I have to chose between Z6/Z7/Ii and d500/d850. There is no doubt I will go with the d850/d500 option. Actually I will not sell my d850 and my d500 even after I bought the Z9

As mentioned above, for wild life, the shutter noise is the only limitation.

If I have to go mirrorless, and the Z9 is excluded for any reason, I will go Sony.

Other people will disagree, but this is my view.








May 09, 2022 at 07:28 AM
AcuteShadows
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Are you using a tripod? Is the weight limitation related to carrying the equipment, or to using it?


May 09, 2022 at 07:47 AM
bs kite
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Chay Nick wrote:
Hi, on a daily basis I photograph wildlife, mammals such as deer, deer, wolves and all kinds of birds, but I do not do BIF. I use a hideout tent and camouflage nets for this purpose.
My equipment is Nikon d500 + Nikkor 300mm PF + tc1,4. Now I am thinking of buying a Nikon d850 + Nikkor 500mm PF for this set. I would get a very good quality of photos, the Nikon ergonomics suits me very well, but I'm worried about the shutter noise which is supposedly even greater than in the d500, which may result in even
...Show more

I read and re-read your post. You photograph wildlife from a blind and *do not* photograph birds in flight.

My current go-to *is* the D850/500PF. But I shoot BIF, though not exclusively. I have been shooting the D850 almost exclusively for about 3 years now. I love the sensor. However, there are a couple of things I do not like about it.

One of those things is the loudness of the D850's mirror box. I'll state the obvious: If you're in a blind, you do not want to be detected. The D850's mirror box will alert wildlife species to your presence and cause *some* species or individuals to flee. imho, most birds are not going to care.

If I am doing a lot of wildlife photography, from inside a blind (exclusively) and my brand was Nikon, I would choose the Z9 or one of the lesser Z's.






I do not remember why the coyote did not detect the sound of the mirror box in the above frame (frame 0800).

  NIKON D850    200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 lens    500mm    f/8.0    1/800s    2000 ISO    +2.0 EV  







Here, you see, at the sound of the mirror box, it looked directly at my blind. Owing to the extraordinary wiliness of a coyote, it did not even lift its head!

  NIKON D850    200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 lens    500mm    f/8.0    1/800s    2000 ISO    +2.0 EV  












Then it turned and ran far back to the woods edge, sat and looked back.

  NIKON D850    200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 lens    500mm    f/8.0    1/800s    3200 ISO    +2.0 EV  



Edited on May 09, 2022 at 09:40 AM · View previous versions



May 09, 2022 at 08:55 AM
OwlsEyes
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Chay Nick wrote:
Thanks for the answer. I was thinking about z6II or even z7II, is their AF similar? Can you use the electronic shutter without any problems and shoot silently?
I like the Sony a9II quite well, also the photos produced by the 200-600mm lens look pretty cool, but the weight of this lens is not that nice anymore. 2.4 kg with a tripod foot, plus 0.7 kg the camera itself is a bit big, especially since I am used to a lightweight set.


The Z6II and Z7II have the same autofocus system. The key difference between the two are the resolution and frame rate. The Z7II is about 47MP (like the D850), shoots at 9+ FPS, and can be shot with a silent shutter. The Z6II is 24MP and can be used at ISO 6400 w/ some minimal noise reduction. The frame rate is 12+ fps, and has a silent/electronic shutter capabilities. The Z7II will have the same noise profile if you downsample to 24mp (like a Z6ii). The benefit of the Z7ii is the ability to crop in and maintain a large file.
The AF on both cameras is robust enough to shoot everything but erratic movement. If you search my image uploads, you will see a wide variety of photos that I've made with either camera. I shot these bodies side by side with D500s (among others) for years. I think that my work speaks for itself.

Please note, however, when things got moving or were very unpredictable, I used my D500s.

If you are starting from scratch, not married to your lenses, and can't afford a Z9... then the Sony A9ii + 200-600 is a hard pairing to resist for a wildlife and nature photographer.

On the other hand, if you love Nikon ergonomics and are comfortable with their system, the Z6ii or Z7ii are good enough. This reality is especially true if you decide to keep your D500.
The decision is a hard one to make, and I almost moved to Sony,.. in the end, I'm glad I stayed with the Nikon ecosystem.

Here's a link to my uploads on FM... I always post Exif, so you will get a sense of my subjects, gear, and typical compositions... this might help you as you compare your shooting styles to mine: https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/viewuploads.php?User=10034

regards,
bruce

Edited on May 11, 2022 at 09:18 PM · View previous versions



May 09, 2022 at 09:12 AM
jbear
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


You could probably use a D810 or D750 for what you're doing and be just fine.
I don't like the 850 shutter noise either, but I shoot it along with a D500 and a D750...I can't say I've lost any shots due to noise; I just don't care for it. Unless I am doing BIF (which I do), I use the Q modes. Anything I've shot that's been moving fast enough for me to use high-speed hasn't seemed to care about the shutter sound.
I'm sure the Z's are capable, but that's a very expensive step to take. I haven't gone that way yet, so...can't help there.



May 09, 2022 at 09:25 AM
Chay Nick
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


I always use a tripod with a gimbal head. I practically always have to walk a few kilometers, usually at night, to cross the forest with all my equipment. A chat tent, a camouflage net, some food, water, and of course a camera with a lens. Due to a knee injury, I try to slim down all the equipment as much as possible.
Even if the wind does not reveal my scent, the shutter sooner or later starts to disturb the animals and that's why I start to think about the silent Sony a9II. At z9 at the moment, not my money. If I had known that the cheaper version of the z9, maybe the equivalent of the d500 would appear, and within a year, the choice would be easier.



May 09, 2022 at 10:23 AM
gavin_emmons
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Chay, you obviously have a lot of good options to consider. I have the Nikon D850 and D500 and have used them over a few years, with the 500mm PF lens and other optics. They have great autofocus capacity and versatility as DSLR bodies.

I also own Canon gear and have used the Canon R5 with the 100-500mm lens for the past year and a half, and it is also a great combination - AF is responsive and Eye AF / tracking makes the combination very reliable for fast moving birds and wildlife. In my experience the Canon R5 AF is more accurate for tracking than the D850 / D500... the latter bodies are very good but my hit rate with the R5 is higher. The 100-500mm lens is a bit slower on the long end than the 500mm PF or Son 200-600mm, but it does not feel that substantial in practice, for me at least. And the lens is very sharp.

You might consider renting a Canon R5 with the 100-500mm lens to see if the setup, overall weight, and capacity of the system suits your needs.



May 09, 2022 at 10:31 AM
 


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RoamingScott
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


OwlsEyes wrote:
The Z6II and Z7II have the same autofocus system. The key difference between the two are the resolution and frame rate. The Z7II is about 47MP (like the D850), shoots at 9+ 12FPS, and can be shot with a silent shutter. The Z6II is 24MP and can be used at ISO 6400 w/ some minimal noise reduction. The frame rate is 12+ fps, and has a silent/electronic shutter capabilities. The Z7II will have the same noise profile if you downsample to 24mp (like a Z6ii). The benefit of the Z7ii is the ability to crop in and maintain a large
...Show more

Important distinction is that at the highest frame rates, the Z6/Z7 are hampered by "slideshow" effect instead of blackout which makes tracking moving wildlife tough sometimes.



May 09, 2022 at 10:45 AM
Jan Brittenson
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Don't underestimate the value of cropping; with a prime you will almost never have perfect framing like you can get with a zoom.



May 10, 2022 at 02:28 PM
Jan Brittenson
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


It seems new prices for the Z9 are $1k more than the A9II. I wouldn't let that make my decision for me, especially since it'll probably take until the end of the year - at least - for you to receive a Z9. Plenty of time to save up the difference. (I ordered mine within hours of the announcement in November, and it just shipped today, May 10...)



May 10, 2022 at 02:31 PM
SSISteve
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


The 500 pf is an outstanding lens and very easy to handhold if necessary. I also have the D850 and do wish the shutter was quieter. It is a great combo and I wouldn’t hesitate to get it again.


May 10, 2022 at 04:43 PM
Kasper6188
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Absolutely yes! I personally think the d850 takes the nicest picture out of any camera made by the big 3, mirrorless or dslr.


May 10, 2022 at 06:44 PM
Chay Nick
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Kasper6188, widzę na twoim instaramie że oprócz d850 używałeś również z powodzeniem z7II do BIF. jakie są twoje odczcia w porównaniu do d850? Jak pisałem przydała by mi się zalezy mi na cicha migawka, BIF nie robię, ale wolniej lub szybciej poruszające się ptaki wodne, czy ladowe owszem.
Boję się też trochę czy zakupiony prze ze mnie nikkor 500mm PF, nie dobrze działć z przyszłymi aparatami z6III/z7III czy ewentualnym z8/z500.



May 11, 2022 at 03:44 AM
saaketham
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Had I not switched to mirrorless in 2021, I would be happily shooting this kit for the next 2 or 3 years

- D850
- D750

- 24-70mm f/2.8
- 70-200mm f/2.8 E FL
- 200mm f/2 or 105mm f/1.4
- 600mm f/4

I sometimes wish I hadn't switched to Mirrorless even though now my number of keepers is incredibly high and the technology is so advanced, that my contribution to the process seems way less.



May 11, 2022 at 04:03 AM
Chay Nick
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


What mirrorless camera are you using now?



May 11, 2022 at 04:15 AM
Kasper6188
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Chay Nick wrote:
Kasper6188, widzę na twoim instaramie że oprócz d850 używałeś również z powodzeniem z7II do BIF. jakie są twoje odczcia w porównaniu do d850? Jak pisałem przydała by mi się zalezy mi na cicha migawka, BIF nie robię, ale wolniej lub szybciej poruszające się ptaki wodne, czy ladowe owszem.
Boję się też trochę czy zakupiony prze ze mnie nikkor 500mm PF, nie dobrze działć z przyszłymi aparatami z6III/z7III czy ewentualnym z8/z500.


A lot of wildlife photographers that post in our local FB groups switched from Nikon to Sony and their images just didn't have the same soul as they used to. After I noticed that I decided to stay put with Nikon and work around the shortcomings of the z's for action. I started using the z7ii over the d850 because the liveview experience was better. It was easier for me to flip the screen out and get low while having decent AF. D850's liveview autofocus isn't good at all, only useable in AF-s with a stationary subject and its really slow. Out of any camera made by Nikon, Canon, or Sony, I think the d850 still takes the best looking images. The king of ultimate image quality in my opinion. If you need silent out of a Nikon camera for action Z9 is going to be the only way right now though.

The 500pf works very well on the z9, and I mean very well. Seems like a native lens to me, so I wouldn't worry about it not working well on the next gen Z cameras.



May 11, 2022 at 06:55 AM
Kasper6188
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


saaketham wrote:
Had I not switched to mirrorless in 2021, I would be happily shooting this kit for the next 2 or 3 years

- D850
- D750

- 24-70mm f/2.8
- 70-200mm f/2.8 E FL
- 200mm f/2 or 105mm f/1.4
- 600mm f/4

I sometimes wish I hadn't switched to Mirrorless even though now my number of keepers is incredibly high and the technology is so advanced, that my contribution to the process seems way less.


I totally agree. While all the keepers are great, now when shooting wildlife I don’t feel as connected to the process as I once did. Maybe because I’m watching the wildlife through a screen instead of actually seeing and experiencing the action with my own eyes through a mirror. Coming home with that one shot was also more rewarding.



May 11, 2022 at 09:58 AM
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