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Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF

  
 
binary visions
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


@ChrisMak

Fair enough, that seems logical to me; if you start with a higher baseline (of anything - contrast, sharpness, autofocus), you can tolerate more degradation before it starts to meaningfully affect the image.

I thought there might be something about the properties of heat haze that I had yet to learn about.



Feb 18, 2024 at 08:47 AM
C_n_red_again
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


Current a1 owner. I rented a z8 a few months back because I really like Nikons long glass selection and was hoping to switch over. After testing the z8 against the a1 the a1 af was superior. And it was noticeable. I also think Sony will have an af advantage for the noticeable future. The a9iii from early reviews is ridiculous in that department. Camera tech is definately on Sonys side. But Nikon Definately has an advantage in long glass. Iím a big fan of built in tele that you can turn off. Itís up to you to decide which feature is more important to you. I think if I was already a Nikon user Iíd stay and if I was a Sony user Iíd stay. I think the advantages that they have over each other cancel each other out.


Feb 18, 2024 at 09:37 PM
RoamingScott
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


You tested old firmware, but good on you for trying for yourself.

C_n_red_again wrote:
Current a1 owner. I rented a z8 a few months back because I really like Nikons long glass selection and was hoping to switch over. After testing the z8 against the a1 the a1 af was superior. And it was noticeable. I also think Sony will have an af advantage for the noticeable future. The a9iii from early reviews is ridiculous in that department. Camera tech is definately on Sonys side. But Nikon Definately has an advantage in long glass. Iím a big fan of built in tele that you can turn off. Itís up to you to decide which
...Show more



Feb 18, 2024 at 09:44 PM
ingekj
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


Have not tried the 600PF, but I have a Z9 and an 800PF and a 400 2.8E. Have also tried the A1 and 600GM but never owned.
In some scenarios the Sony combo is quicker and more accurate, when going from infinity to close focus and when tracking against foliage. Other than that not a big difference, but the 600GM focus motors are crazy quick.
The Nikon lenses overall have better image stabilization. In terms of sharpness and contrast not much between them.
F4 vs 6.3 is a lot in certain situations. Low light situations with wildlife or if you are trying to capture fast action with high shutter speeds it matters a lot.



Feb 19, 2024 at 07:10 AM
arbitrage
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


If you are looking for something to hike with then for sure the Z8/600PF is the smart buy.

If you want the best there is overall then buy the 600GM, keep using the A1. Nothing beats aperture in the end. Shooting f/6.3 (as you already know well with the 200-600G) is always going to compromise the final image except when you shoot in really good light with really distant backgrounds.

I'm hoping to get my hands on Z8/600PF by next month when I can give it a proper test on fast/erratic birds. I really need to know for myself if the Z8 FW 2.0 (ie Z9 FW 4.1) has brought the AF up to (or past) A1. I can tell you that the Z9 FW 3.X and Z8 FW 1.X were not there yet....by any stretch of the imagination.



Feb 19, 2024 at 08:38 AM
billsnature
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


arbitrage wrote:
If you are looking for something to hike with then for sure the Z8/600PF is the smart buy.

If you want the best there is overall then buy the 600GM, keep using the A1. Nothing beats aperture in the end. Shooting f/6.3 (as you already know well with the 200-600G) is always going to compromise the final image except when you shoot in really good light with really distant backgrounds.

I'm hoping to get my hands on Z8/600PF by next month when I can give it a proper test on fast/erratic birds. I really need to know for myself if the Z8
...Show more

I was hoping that you would weigh in here. Disappointing to hear that 1.X firmware wasn't there yet, I hope 2.0 is. Part of my frustration with A1 is that it is well behind the A7R V on initial pick up of small birds to the point of being comparatively painful.

As long as Z8 and 600 PF is better than the 500mm PF with D500/D50 I should be happy with as a hiker, but may not be the right answer overall.



Feb 19, 2024 at 08:55 AM
arbitrage
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


billsnature wrote:
I was hoping that you would weigh in here. Disappointing to hear that 1.X firmware wasn't there yet, I hope 2.0 is. Part of my frustration with A1 is that it is well behind the A7R V on initial pick up of small birds to the point of being comparatively painful.

As long as Z8 and 600 PF is better than the 500mm PF with D500/D50 I should be happy with as a hiker, but may not be the right answer overall.


For small perched birds with distractions around them (not in flight) the Z8/Z9 (especially on latest FW) should be better than A1. Probably more like your A7RV.



Feb 19, 2024 at 09:01 AM
Laslo Varadi
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


arbitrage wrote:
If you are looking for something to hike with then for sure the Z8/600PF is the smart buy.

If you want the best there is overall then buy the 600GM, keep using the A1. Nothing beats aperture in the end. Shooting f/6.3 (as you already know well with the 200-600G) is always going to compromise the final image except when you shoot in really good light with really distant backgrounds.

I'm hoping to get my hands on Z8/600PF by next month when I can give it a proper test on fast/erratic birds. I really need to know for myself if the Z8
...Show more

Iím looking forward to your testing.



Feb 19, 2024 at 09:32 AM
billsnature
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


Here is Steve Perry video (Z9) on AF giving me hope for the Z8 with 2.0 This appears to confirm my A1 frustrations and makes Nikon look like a winner (for now).




Feb 19, 2024 at 10:24 AM
RoamingScott
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


we are at a point where if you can't get good images with the Z8 on 2.0 or Z9 on 4.1 or A1 on 1.0 (KIDDING) or whatever the go to Canon BIF body is...it's not the camera anymore.

now it's time to figure out what your ideal lenses are and buy one.



Feb 19, 2024 at 10:41 AM
 


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billsnature
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


RoamingScott wrote:
we are at a point where if you can't get good images with the Z8 on 2.0 or Z9 on 4.1 or A1 on 1.0 (KIDDING) or whatever the go to Canon BIF body is...it's not the camera anymore.

now it's time to figure out what your ideal lenses are and buy one.


I agree completely!!!

I am trying to decide between Sony 600mm at $13K or the Nikon 600PF and 800PF at $10.8K for the pair or I guess the Nikon 600/1.4X at $ probably too expensive for me. I am trying to figure out the available perfect lenses for me. A 500mm f4.0 at 5 Lbs is it, but no one makes those.



Feb 19, 2024 at 11:02 AM
RoamingScott
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


billsnature wrote:
I agree completely!!!

I am trying to decide between Sony 600mm at $13K or the Nikon 600PF and 800PF at $10.8K for the pair or I guess the Nikon 600/1.4X at $ probably too expensive for me. I am trying to figure out the available perfect lenses for me. A 500mm f4.0 at 5 Lbs is it, but no one makes those.


Depending on how much you care about buying new vs refurb, you can get a Z8 for $3199 today (sale ends today).

You can easily sell it for $3000 on the used market if you change your mind. Better than a rental.

https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-products/product/refurbished-mirrorless-cameras/1695q/z-8-refurbished.html



Feb 19, 2024 at 11:15 AM
Kasper6188
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


binary visions wrote:
I've seen two comments in here about specific lenses being affected by heat haze.

Since heat haze is a physical property of the atmosphere, I always thought that it was something which affected all lenses equally. I mean, sure, poorly resolving lenses will be affected by this issue, but they aren't prey to heat haze specifically and more that anything which reduces the IQ of the image will be more noticeable if the IQ wasn't great to start with.

Anyone have any links or anything I could read up on, or can provide additional information? I tried Googling but my
...Show more

When it comes to heat distortion, it actually can vary from lens to lens depending on the situation. If someone plans to shoot in the cold and brings a lens out of a warm car, the lens itself can create distortion because it's not acclimated to the temperature outside. A lens with less mass will acclimate to the conditions outside quicker vs a big heavy lens. Shooting without a lens hood until everything equalizes also helps too because the warm lens hood traps the warm air coming off of the lens and the hood itself.

Edited on Feb 19, 2024 at 08:10 PM · View previous versions



Feb 19, 2024 at 12:58 PM
elkhornsun
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


When I first held the Nikon 500mm PF lens in my hands it was surprising to have a 500mm lens that was the size and weight of a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. I never mounted the lens on a tripod the entire time I used it. I became very aware of how limiting a tripod was with both my moving horizontally to change the background or track a subject and how limiting vertically with the tripod nearly always at full height.

With the 500mm PF lens it was easy to move around freely and to kneel for a lower perspective and more in line with the subject's eyes. It was great for shooting from a small boat with no tripod needed. The Nikon mirrorless 600mm PF weighs about the same as the 500mm PF or 3.24 lb and so can easily be used without a tripod.

I have the Nikon 800mm PF that weighs 5.2 lbs which is more of a challenge to use for extended periods without a tripod but it is doable. It also works very well with a monopod which adjusts for height in a third the time of a tripod.

In terms of combinations of lenses with my Z9 cameras I have the 800mm PF, the 180-600mm, and the 100-400mm and have the bases covered. There is also the option of getting the lightweight and compact 24-200mm lens.






Feb 19, 2024 at 06:41 PM
woodstork
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


500/4 at 5 lbsÖ sign me up!!!!! Iíd be even happier with a 6 lb Z 500/4 TC. I shot a 2nd gen Canon 500/4 for quite a few years and loved it, often with a 1.4x TC attached (and always on a tripod). Being able to flick a switch from 500/4 to 700/5.6 would be soooo sweet. And being able to shoot that focal length handheldÖ. Woot woot!

I now shoot 800 PF on a Z9 as my primary bird kit. I havenít had issues with thermal haze, but Iím not using this lens to shoot at long distances and crop, or to make environmental context imagery at range. I use this to get as tight as possible. And when tight on the subject it melts most backgrounds rather well. And Iíve never felt like the Z9 was an impediment to my BIF hit rate.

But the differentiator for me is handholding. An 800mm prime I can run and gun with would have sounded like a unicorn a few years ago. Nikon is going all in on the handholdable super telephoto niche, with their 100-400, 180-600, 400 TC, 400/4.5, 600 PF and 800 PF. Nikon coupled their lighter long lenses with class leading image stabilization. Itís so good I had to radically rethink and unlearn years of ISO and SS threshold tolerances for things like perched birds and reptiles. Further, most Z teles provide improved rearward weight balance, also making handholding easier. Itís pretty clear Nikon developed a total system design philosophy around empowering shooters to ditch the tripod and still get tack sharp supertelephoto photos.

billsnature wrote:
I agree completely!!!

I am trying to decide between Sony 600mm at $13K or the Nikon 600PF and 800PF at $10.8K for the pair or I guess the Nikon 600/1.4X at $ probably too expensive for me. I am trying to figure out the available perfect lenses for me. A 500mm f4.0 at 5 Lbs is it, but no one makes those.




Feb 19, 2024 at 07:37 PM
billsnature
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


SEE UPDATE OF THIS ON BOTTOM OF PAGE 3 !!!!!

Got my Z8 and 600mm PF yesterday and got to do a bit of testing today on songbirds in yard. The results were a bit surprising and require more testing to follow up.

Standard disclaimers....It is one copy of each lens. Lighting was variable. Birds even more variable. Sharpness comparisons were mix of bird results and non-moving things like dried up flowers and stumps.

1) Z8 acquisition speed and ability to find birds is much better than Sony A1. Haven't tested against A7R V, but I think they will be closer since A7R V is also much better than A1. I suspect Z8 may still be faster

2) Focus breathing in Sony 200-600 is worse than I thought. At the MFD of the Nikon 600PF the image size is so much bigger than the Sony 200-600 set to 600, that is almost like having a 1.4X TC on the 600mm PF. Sony is very sharp at the MFD.

3) When an extension tube is added to the 600mm PF to bring the MFD and Magnification closer to that of the Sony 200-600 the IQ does not hold up well. The smaller Sony image (because of breathing) is actually sharper with more detail than the larger image from the 600 PF. I will retest this, but this was a huge disappointment!!! Images from 200-600 look much better.

4) 600mm PF is probably a little sharper at distance than the 200-600, but not by as much as I expected at least at the center of frame.

Overall, a bit of a disappointment on day one, hopefully it gets better.

Edited on Feb 24, 2024 at 08:24 PM · View previous versions



Feb 22, 2024 at 10:45 PM
Laslo Varadi
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


billsnature wrote:
Got my Z8 and 600mm PF yesterday and got to do a bit of testing today on songbirds in yard. The results were a bit surprising and require more testing to follow up.

Standard disclaimers....It is one copy of each lens. Lighting was variable. Birds even more variable. Sharpness comparisons were mix of bird results and non-moving things like dried up flowers and stumps.

1) Z8 acquisition speed and ability to find birds is much better than Sony A1. Haven't tested against A7R V, but I think they will be closer since A7R V is also much better than A1. I suspect
...Show more
I just got the same combination and did some test shots the last two days. Iím pretty satisfied with the results but have to practice more. Check out my post here:

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1809885/40#16479103

I also shoot with the A1 and 200-600 kit.



Feb 22, 2024 at 11:03 PM
billsnature
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


Laslo Varadi wrote:
I just got the same combination and did some test shots the last two days. Iím pretty satisfied with the results but have to practice more. Check out my post here:

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1809885/40#16479103

I also shoot with the A1 and 200-600 kit.


I think the results of Z8/600PF at longer distances like the ones in your link will likely be fine. It's the close range performance that is less than I expected.



Feb 22, 2024 at 11:22 PM
ilkka_nissila
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


1) Z8 acquisition speed and ability to find birds is much better than Sony A1. Haven't tested against A7R V, but I think they will be closer since A7R V is also much better than A1. I suspect Z8 may still be faster

2) Focus breathing in Sony 200-600 is worse than I thought. At the MFD of the Nikon 600PF the image size is so much bigger than the Sony 200-600 set to 600, that is almost like having a 1.4X TC on the 600mm PF. Sony is very sharp at the MFD.

3) When an extension tube is added to the
...Show more

The faster focusing is due to the 600 PF being a prime lens and as a result optical design could be made such that the focusing system doesn't need to move as much mass over as long distances to achieve a given change in distance. However, the design doesn't allow quite as close focusing as those of the zooms. The Nikon 180-600 also focuses very close (1.3-2.4 m) but is reported to be slower. The Z 100-400 focuses even closer and is still slower (probably in part due to the extreme range of magnifications that the lens covers). There is a pattern. ;-)

Modern lenses are optimized for image quality at different distances by moving the elements relative to each other as the lens is focused; a side effect of this design is that extension tubes throw the optimization off. Nikon doesn't make extension tubes for modern lenses.

Tradeoffs, tradeoffs.



Feb 23, 2024 at 03:39 AM
Alistair1
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Nikon Z8 with 600 PF vs Sony A1 200-600 or 600 GM for Birds and BIF


That new Sigma 500/5.6 for E mount is worth factoring in to consideration now too. Apart from poor VR and no extenders, it looks fabulous.


Feb 23, 2024 at 03:44 AM
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