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Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread

  
 
SCoombs
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p.11 #1 · p.11 #1 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


kwalsh wrote:
I don't shoot anything like BIF, but I will just naively echo that I've read/seen multiple experienced wildlife and bird photographers make this very point repeatedly. The interaction of settings with technique make a huge difference in keeper rate, and especially modern mirrorless cameras may have an enormous number of settings to tweak.

Specifically for the Z cameras more than one person has pointed out that a large fraction of the "Z tracking AF stinks" is down to the Z defaults often not being optimal for a number of tasks when compared with the default settings of other systems. That
...Show more


Honestly I've never accepted this line of reasoning about Z bodies because I really do not see a world of difference in the operation of them vs. Nikon DSLRs - at least not for the sorts of subjects people complained about the AF for. People complaining about the Z AF were largely wildlife and sport shooters who were all using group area AF or 3D tracking before, and most of the "quirks" to the Z AF system were also true of group area AF or 3D tracking on the DSLRs.

The bigger thing, though, is that so many of the complaints also came down to modes which were all in the camera's hands. For instance, a lot of people had problems with the eye tracking on the Z6ii amd Z7ii. I remember Jared Polin did a video where he put a kid on a slide and tried to get the camera to track the eye as they went down and it had a real hard time. It's hard to blame this on the user when the full extent of user skill required for this is to point the camera and press the shutter.

I actually have started to think some of the complaints came down to lens performance. For instance, there was one video where someone put the Z7ii on a tripod at night and walked towards it in the dark while the eye tracking took sharp shot after sharp shot. I saw this and was frustrated because I couldn't even get 20% of the shots in focus doing this in broad daylight. Years later, when I got some other lenses I started to find my camera COULD do this with those lenses. I'd had that 200-500 pretty much glued to the camera for years and it never could track people like that. I always blamed it on the camera. Once I got otherblenses, I started to realize that the camera could do that tracking with other lenses. I wonder how much of this sort of thing led to complaints.



Sep 17, 2023 at 04:57 PM
Kasper6188
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p.11 #2 · p.11 #2 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


360mm 7.1 iso2800, LR denoise 15








Sep 17, 2023 at 06:02 PM
Kasper6188
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p.11 #3 · p.11 #3 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


600mm f8 iso1800 LR denoise 10








Sep 17, 2023 at 06:07 PM
LarsHP
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p.11 #4 · p.11 #4 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


1bwana1 wrote:
I don't know if it is the editing, the jpeg conversion, the enlargement, or what, but the original images you posted do look very much soft to me. I did not take the time to download the RAWs to have a look however.


I just did a new edit of the f/6.3 (wide open) shot with further more sharpness added in ACR. The new f/6.3 edit now looks sharper than the original f/7.1 image.
Check out the image (a 100% crop) here.
I think much of this is about what sharpness settings you usually apply. I prefer sharp, but not unnaturally sharp, looking images.



Sep 18, 2023 at 04:45 AM
duncang
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p.11 #5 · p.11 #5 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


sonamair wrote:
let me try


Looks soft, what kind of shampoo ?



Sep 18, 2023 at 06:05 AM
ilkka_nissila
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p.11 #6 · p.11 #6 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


SCoombs wrote:
Honestly I've never accepted this line of reasoning about Z bodies because I really do not see a world of difference in the operation of them vs. Nikon DSLRs - at least not for the sorts of subjects people complained about the AF for. People complaining about the Z AF were largely wildlife and sport shooters who were all using group area AF or 3D tracking before, and most of the "quirks" to the Z AF system were also true of group area AF or 3D tracking on the DSLRs.

The bigger thing, though, is that so many of the
...Show more

Camera, lens, settings and user technique all come into play and affect the focus keeper rate.

With Nikon Z cameras, typically the use of auto-area autofocusing where the camera decides everything can be erratic since the camera has to evaluate the whole image field for potential subjects and it can get confused. The user technique which affects this scenario is very simple: don't use auto area but limit the search area to a smaller part of the frame, reducing the camera's confusion. Understanding what the camera is doing in various modes and its limitations can be very important in improving the results one can get. This knowledge can take months or years to acquire.

For me almost everything comes out in focus with the Z8 with few exceptions which I mentioned in another post meant to go into this thread but accidentally I posted it in another. ;-) This includes adapted lenses such as 300/2.8 and native ones such as 24-70/2.8 or 70-200/2.8. Only the background or foreground distraction line orientation (relative to the phase-detection sensors) and lighting (if behind the subject) can basically throw things off, or the presence of multiple subjects where the camera doesn't always choose the closest one, in contrast to, e.g., the D6 in custom-group-area mode. Adapted lenses mainly get into difficulties in very low light (outside of the phase-detection envelope, basically) but mostly work similarly to native ones (except for the sound which is louder) on this camera.

Internet fora can be ruthless to new posters asking questions and complaining about the performance of gear. This is partly because humans haven't evolved yet into the faceless communication and are typically much more polite and civil in person. But also we usually want to see effort on the part of people rather than blaming the gear. You seem to have tried hard to get the 200-500 to work for you, with limited success, and it's not clear what is going wrong. I think you need to try out some lenses and see if they work for you. If you have friends that have e.g. 500 PF, 400/4.5 or 180-600 and will let you try them, I think that would be the easiest way forward. The second easiest way is to order from a store with a liberal return policy (though it should not be abused). I don't think it's possible to be 100% sure to avoid making bad purchases but you can be reasonably confident that the new gear is better than the old in the same price class and category (this has not always been the case in the past). Sometimes brick and mortar stores will let you try shooting with the lens and comparing with what you have. Finding one would be helpful in this case.



Sep 18, 2023 at 06:58 AM
mikard
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p.11 #7 · p.11 #7 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


Nice shots, I am glad to see that somebody is back on subject. Mike


Sep 18, 2023 at 07:43 AM
SCoombs
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p.11 #8 · p.11 #8 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


ilkka_nissila wrote:
Camera, lens, settings and user technique all come into play and affect the focus keeper rate.

With Nikon Z cameras, typically the use of auto-area autofocusing where the camera decides everything can be erratic since the camera has to evaluate the whole image field for potential subjects and it can get confused. The user technique which affects this scenario is very simple: don't use auto area but limit the search area to a smaller part of the frame, reducing the camera's confusion. Understanding what the camera is doing in various modes and its limitations can be very important in improving
...Show more

I could be wrong, but I think you misunderstand something about how the AF works. Using a limited AF box doesn't limit what the Z subject detection evaluates. Thr subject detection appears to run at all times on the entire frame. If you want to see this in action, set the AF to wide area small or even a custom 1x1 area on the Z8/9, point yhe camera at a person or a dog or something with the AF box not on them and notice that the subject detection will show its little white "potential subject" box on the face or eye anyways. It's always evaluating everything and using a small area box doesn't limit what it needs to compute - it just "confirms" for the AF what you want to focusnon or helps you tell the AF what to focus on in a situation where there are multiple subjects.

Now what does seem to limit the computational requirements is using DX mode over FX, since the AF analyzes the EVF stream. Lots of users talk about thebfact thar they find switching to DX mode will sometimes help the AF when it's having a hard time, and this seems tombe why.

I'd also add that I don't know that I've ever seen an experienced photographer of the sort we're talking about complain about the Z AF while using the full area AF. It's usually been people coming from DSLRs, especially pre-D500 models, who were used to dynamic area modes and try to treat the wide area boxes like dynamic area modes. Again, though, I think most people I've seen complain were coming from the use of group area, which is more or less the same as wide area modes on the Z.



Sep 18, 2023 at 09:42 AM
George DeCamp
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p.11 #9 · p.11 #9 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


Here's a selection from this morning at Huntington Beach State Park.





  NIKON Z 9    NIKKOR Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR lens    180mm    f/5.6    1/1250s    160 ISO    0.0 EV  






  NIKON Z 9    NIKKOR Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR lens    600mm    f/6.3    1/3200s    1000 ISO    0.0 EV  






  NIKON Z 9    NIKKOR Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR lens    600mm    f/6.3    1/3200s    1250 ISO    0.0 EV  






  NIKON Z 9    NIKKOR Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR lens    490mm    f/6.3    1/2500s    400 ISO    -0.3 EV  






  NIKON Z 9    NIKKOR Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR lens    600mm    f/6.3    1/2500s    500 ISO    -0.3 EV  




Sep 18, 2023 at 10:05 AM
SCoombs
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p.11 #10 · p.11 #10 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


George DeCamp wrote:
Here's a selection from this morning at Huntington Beach State Park.


Very nice



Sep 18, 2023 at 10:41 AM
 


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1bwana1
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p.11 #11 · p.11 #11 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


Great images George. I really have a hard time imagining anyone thinking that they need sharper, better exposed images of birds than these. Great shots both static and in flight. I think images of this quality should make the vast majority of photographers happy as far as image quality is concerned.

So, now that the image quality question with this lens is concerned has been so well demonstrated, we can put that issue to rest. I believe that it is correct to say that when considering new equipment for such uses, that the combination of the Z8(should be same IQ as Z9 used here), and the Nikon 180-200 is the least expensive, best value, path to this level of performance.

Great job Nikon.

Edited on Sep 19, 2023 at 09:34 AM · View previous versions



Sep 18, 2023 at 10:41 AM
bs kite
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p.11 #12 · p.11 #12 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


1bwana1 wrote:
Great images George. I really have a hard time imagining anyone thinking that they need sharper, better exposed images of birds that these. Great shots both static and in flight. I think images of this quality should make the vast majority of photographers happy as far as image quality is concerned.

So, now that the image quality question with this lens is concerned has been so well demonstrated, we can put that issue to rest. I believe that it is correct to say that when considering new equipment for such uses, that the combination of the Z8(should be same IQ as
...Show more

Thank you Steve




Sep 18, 2023 at 11:40 AM
SCoombs
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p.11 #13 · p.11 #13 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


1bwana1 wrote:
Great images George. I really have a hard time imagining anyone thinking that they need sharper, better exposed images of birds that these. Great shots both static and in flight. I think images of this quality should make the vast majority of photographers happy as far as image quality is concerned.

So, now that the image quality question with this lens is concerned has been so well demonstrated, we can put that issue to rest. I believe that it is correct to say that when considering new equipment for such uses, that the combination of the Z8(should be same IQ as
...Show more

I think these are very nice images, but let's not neglect that these are relatively low megapixel renders which force a relatively small size for viewing. Files like this are good for some things but thee's also value in having larger, higher resolution files and those are a lot more demanding on a lens and reveal deficiencies much more. For instance, the files shared here wouldn't make for good prints.

Now do the higher res versions look as sharp? There's no way to know unless they're shared.

Again, I like these photos and they give me a good impression of the lens. They certainly give me a good impression of the photographer!

But as far as really judging the quality of image the lens can produce 3MP 96dpi files aren't going to give much insight. When viewed at a resolution sufficient to make a decent sized print they make look awful - or great! This is not meant to be critical of the decision to share the photos as they are, by the way. I think they're great and shared as is they are very nice in this thread. I'm commenting only on their value as "proof" of the lens' quality.



Sep 18, 2023 at 12:06 PM
OwlsEyes
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p.11 #14 · p.11 #14 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


You all may want to either start a new "Real Image Sharing 180-600" Thread or a "Critique and Complain about the 180-600" thread.
This one has become about the critique... which is valid... but the title is false advertising.



Sep 18, 2023 at 01:05 PM
CanadaMark
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p.11 #15 · p.11 #15 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


SCoombs wrote:
In a way I understand why it's so common, but I still think people are too quick to jump to blame the user anytime someone mentions or asks for help with a problem they're having on any of the various photography forums. Like I said, there's a theme out there that people switch to the 500pf or some other lens and their BIF photos start being in focus. It's the same user with the same technique and the settings on their camera.

In fact, in the current age of subject detection amd auto-everything I think it's even less likely that a
...Show more

I get what you're trying to say, but in my mind what it doesn't address is how so many people are not having issues, which based on all the fantastic images posted here and elsewhere, seems to be the majority of users. The other thing it doesn't address is why some people are seemingly having the exact same issues with the highest tiers of equipment featuring the fastest available AF motors. If one person is having issues and the other is not, the burden of proof would be on the person who is having the issue because the person not having the issue has already demonstrated the product is capable of performing in a certain way. I respect your opinion that people can be too fast to blame the user, but my counterpoint would be that I think the human factor is often underestimated, especially in a realm were the tiniest things can make big difference, and people in general are naturally resistant to considering themselves as part of the problem - even more so if they have spent a lot of money. In my experience, the user is most often the problem, and that includes my own problems The fact of the matter is that defective gear is extremely rare and BIF is one of the most challenging types of photography. Good long lens technique and a deep understanding of the complicated mirrorless AF systems is not something anyone learns overnight.

The other thing that makes me skeptical that it's the lens (assuming it's working properly) is the situations you described you were having issues in. The words you used to describe the situations were things like "gliding across", "coasting down" and "soaring through the air". All of those scenarios sound like larger, slow moving birds with movement that is typically perpendicular to the camera - in those situations the AF motor is barely even working because the distance changes are quite minor. Please feel free to correct me as I am making an assumption there. There aren't many camera/lens combinations that can't handle that kind of movement and those types of scenarios would not be a challenge whatsoever for a Z8 + 200-500. The other comment you made that gave me pause was "I don't know how we can say someone tracked poorly when tracking consists of doing nothing while the camera's AF follows the subject.". If it were that easy, nothing would ever be OOF and we'd all be submitting our images to NatGeo. AI subject detection is not a substitute for skill, and it doesn't mean you can be lazy tracking your subjects or with your technique. It requires even more technical knowledge of the camera's AF for best results. I also think that if someone is expecting the camera to more/less do everything for them, they are more likely to be disappointed and are going to be far less likely to consider themselves as part of the problem.

And don't get me wrong, I am not saying the 200-500 is a very fast focusing lens nor am I saying it would be my first choice for shooting fast action, but a great deal of proof exists that it is capable of keeping up to some of the most demanding action subjects, and I think most would agree it can very easily keep up to perpendicular BIF or slower moving birds. Once there is proof of concept, if someone else can't achieve the same thing, I think it's reasonable to have a default assumption that the user is the issue (generally speaking, I don't mean you personally). It would then be up to the person having the issue to show that something else is wrong, and I have yet to see any evidence that suggests there is meaningful sample variation in the AF performance of the 200-500. If it turns out that the lens is defective, then of course we know the issue is likely not with the user/settings/technique.

Whenever a performance metric is being evaluated that also includes a massive human variable, the best results are the ones we generally accept. To use yet another car analogy, if a particular vehicle can go around a track in, say, one minute with a professional driver, if a customer buys the same vehicle and can't achieve the same time, nobody is going to think the vehicle is defective. Now, put that same customer in a car that does everything better, and they might be able to get a similar lap time to the professional driver in the lesser vehicle for any number of reasons - maybe not so different to some people needing a 500PF to get similar results that others get from a 200-500, especially if one is expecting the gear to do all the work. Maybe switching to a 500PF does improve keepers for some people, but how do you determine that it's due to the AF motor when so many other variables are also changing at the same time? Maybe the increased keeper rate is because the lens is so much easier to hold/maneuver and has much better ergonomics than the 200-500.

Speaking of the 500PF, I've been around quite a while and I've never noticed a theme of people switching from the 200-500 to a 500PF due to AF issues. The 200-500 is big, heavy, poorly balanced, and the zoom ring has way too much travel - the people I know who made the switch to the 500PF were either for those reasons or for better performance with teleconverters. I don't doubt that some people have switched specifically due to perceived AF issues, but what is the scale of this theme? 5 people? 10? 20? How many individual accounts have you read about? Out of tens of thousands of lenses sold, that number would have to be pretty big to suggest any kind of widespread issue. Nikon is also hypersensitive of any issues and regularly releases voluntary service advisories for things the internet isn't even aware of until Nikon reveals it. The 200-500 has been in use since 2015 and I think if there was any kind of well known or widespread issue with the AF performance it would have been addressed by now. Do you zoom while shooting? If so, there is a firmware update for the 200-500 that addressed an issue where the AF would occasionally fail to operate while using the zoom ring at the same time. As far as I know this only affected early units (~2015) but it's something to be aware of.

At the end of the day, you need to use what works for you, regardless of the reason. If that isn't the 200-500, then get something else Lucky for you the 180-600 is a worthy successor, and this thread has plenty of evidence that it is performing at or above expectations, so if you like that style of lens you are unlikely to be disappointed by it.



Sep 18, 2023 at 01:56 PM
bs kite
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p.11 #16 · p.11 #16 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


CanadaMark wrote:
I get what you're trying to say, but in my mind what it doesn't address is how so many people are not having issues, which based on all the fantastic images posted here and elsewhere, seems to be the majority of users. The other thing it doesn't address is why some people are seemingly having the exact same issues with the highest tiers of equipment featuring the fastest available AF motors. If one person is having issues and the other is not, the burden of proof would be on the person who is having the issue because the person not
...Show more


You wrote.......

"Speaking of the 500PF, I've been around quite a while and I've never noticed a theme of people switching from the 200-500 to a 500PF due to AF issues. The 200-500 is big, heavy, poorly balanced, and the zoom ring has way too much travel - the people I know who made the switch to the 500PF were either for those reasons or for better performance with teleconverters."

Exactly! What you listed above are *all* the reasons I now favor my 500PF over my 200-500.

*I have no AF issues at all with my 200-500* and I've been shooting it since 2018. I'm simply spoiled by the 500PF so that the 200-500 feels unwieldy to me now.



Edited on Sep 18, 2023 at 02:46 PM · View previous versions



Sep 18, 2023 at 02:42 PM
CanadaMark
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p.11 #17 · p.11 #17 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


SCoombs wrote:
I think these are very nice images, but let's not neglect that these are relatively low megapixel renders which force a relatively small size for viewing. Files like this are good for some things but thee's also value in having larger, higher resolution files and those are a lot more demanding on a lens and reveal deficiencies much more. For instance, the files shared here wouldn't make for good prints.

Now do the higher res versions look as sharp? There's no way to know unless they're shared.

Again, I like these photos and they give me a good impression of the lens.
...Show more

Many ~100% or heavy crops have already been posted in this thread and they are very sharp, despite the fact that no software even has profile support for the lens yet (meaning, it will only improve). There are at least two links in this thread to highly detailed controlled testing, both with 200% crops that again show the same thing, as well as comparisons to the competition and Nikon's own telephoto lineup. Those tests reveal that the 180-600 holds up well to Nikon's highly regarded 100-400S and 400/4.5S, all triple corroborated by the controlled testing done by Ricci, Steve Perry, and Gordon @ Cameralabs, which are all in agreement. Steve is the only one I have seen who has done a proper comparison to the Sony 200-600 and we see that once again, at least with his copies, the Nikon is slightly sharper which also matches my own impression after having used both.

Every other professional review I have read or watched is very positive, despite some having questionable test methods. History tells us that sample variation exists but is minor and requires careful examination to reveal. I guess my question for you is what are you looking for? Is there something in particular you're waiting to see? I am starting to get the impression that you are searching for a reason to not like the lens, which is obviously fine if you don't, but every reputable tester so far has shown it is an excellent performer.



Sep 18, 2023 at 02:45 PM
Jemini
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p.11 #18 · p.11 #18 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


senna4ever wrote:
Has anyone found a softcase that would fit this lens? The largest lens cases by LowePro or Tenba are about 2cm too short! I had an extra 300mm f2.8VR lens case that I now deeply regret throwing away... Photos for attention.
Z8 + 180-600mm
Flickr


I use this Tenba minimalist bag for Sony 200-600 and A1. Not sure this will work for you

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077SX24LK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I keep a 1" (95mm) metal hood on 200-600. So total length of the lens is 13.5". With camera total length should be around 15.5"



Sep 18, 2023 at 02:55 PM
George DeCamp
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p.11 #19 · p.11 #19 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


1bwana1 wrote:
Great images George. I really have a hard time imagining anyone thinking that they need sharper, better exposed images of birds that these. Great shots both static and in flight. I think images of this quality should make the vast majority of photographers happy as far as image quality is concerned.

So, now that the image quality question with this lens is concerned has been so well demonstrated, we can put that issue to rest. I believe that it is correct to say that when considering new equipment for such uses, that the combination of the Z8(should be same IQ as
...Show more

Thank you sir, your comments are much appreciated! I've tried to post a little of each to show what the lens has to offer. If people like it fine, if not that's ok too!



Sep 18, 2023 at 04:31 PM
George DeCamp
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p.11 #20 · p.11 #20 · Official Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Image Thread


SCoombs wrote:
Very nice


Thank you!!



Sep 18, 2023 at 04:32 PM
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