Welcome to our newsletter
This month we will look at how we are doing with our switch to our Nikon Z7 & Z6s. We have gotten some great results from these two cameras. Between Annette and myself, we have three Z6s and a Z7. I will highlight some of the things we have found along the way. There is plenty of technical stuff out there showing all the pros and cons of these mirrorless cameras. I am not going to do that. Instead, I am going to tell you how I shoot the cameras, and share the results.
The Z6 & Z7 layout is exactly the same. Learning the menu on one is learning the menu on the other. The menu is easy to follow even if you're not a Nikon shooter.
If you are a Nikon shooter, the menu is exactly the same format as you are accustomed to. You will have no trouble following the menu layout.
When you pick up these cameras, you will notice that they feel great, and they feel like a Nikon.
The reason I switched over is because they save weight and space. Traveling a lot in smaller aircraft, weight and size mean quite a bit. These cameras fit the bill of small size for sure.
I only own one true Z mount lens. The 24-70 has now become my favorite landscape lens. It is a f/4 lens throughout the range and is sharp and has a quick auto focus.
Its compact size takes up much less space than my F-mount 24-70 f/2.8, with quite a nice weight savings.
I do use the FTZ adapter Nikon engineered to mount the F-mounted lens. This allows me to use my previous F-mounts while I wait for Nikon to come out with new Z mount lenses.
Note, when using a Z mount lens, the camera body has a 5 axis vibration reduction,(VR). With an F-mount lens, it has a 3-axis vibration reduction.
The two lenses I am shooting for wildlife with my two Z systems are the Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 and the (2 1/2 LB lighter ) 500mm f/5.6 PF lens. Both of these lenses are giving me very sharp images. I like the zoom capability of the 200-500 and have talked about this lens in the past. The big news here is the 500 f/5.6 PF Gold Ring pro level wildlife lens. This is what I'll talk about with my Z systems.
I find the 500 PF on the FTZ adapter to be quick and sharp. I have used it on the Z7 and the Z6. Capturing wildlife with it on the Nikon mirrorless is a snap. It has become my main wildlife lens setup.
Whether shooting wildlife, mammals, or birds in flight, I find the Z7 & Z6 systems quite capable.
My Zs are set up the same. I shoot in Autofocus- C and in the dynamic autofocus. I find this works best as it did with my D5 and D850. The Z7 set to continuous H is about 6 fps and in H*, 9 fps. The Z6 goes as high as 12 fps in H*. The thing to remember is, if you are in H* on either camera, you cannot use your flash unit as it is disengaged. You need to be in "H" or slower to use flash on these Z cameras.
The Big questions I keep getting: How does it track? and how well is the Electronic View Finder, (EVF)?
I get to shoot a lot of mirrorless cameras from my workshop participants. As landscape cameras, most do a great job, but the EVF lacks some. The Nikon Z EVF is as close as I have seen to looking throught the viewfinder of an SLR. Its not perfect but its getting there.
EVF in mirrorless have lag time. The Nikon Z has lag time especially when shooting fast. The EVF doesn't keep up with the shoot perfectly. However, the Z system is the best I have tried. (I have not tried every mirrorless out there, so please, no ugly emails.) I find the lag time workable when shooting in bursts. Also the Nikon Z EVF has something else going for it: Polarizing filter shifts can be seen quickly, something that was lacking in other EVF's I have had experience with. The use of Grad filters show the Grad ND changes very well.
Even in tough lighting conditions I was able to see slight shifts in external filter changes and capture some great images.
As far as the lag time in the EVF, yes, I want it to be better. My images prove that this mirrorless system is extremely good, even good enough to be utilized professionally as a valid wildlife, sports, birding and anything camera.
An example of an extreme test
In December, I got to shoot an ice skating event. The lights were very low and the skaters were under a spot light while performing. I can't publish all those images in this format, as I don't have permission, but they are on my gallery for viewing with permission. Feel free to take a look. Here are a few of my grandkids. At ISO 16,000 to 20,000 with an FTZ adapter & 70-200 f/2.8, I was able to track and maintain autofocus. Also note the position I was given to shoot from, everyone was back lit. These cameras worked perfectly.
So how do I choose between Z6 & Z7. I can shoot them both in any situation. The Z7, at 47 megapixels, is my prime landscape camera. It is also my wildlife camera when I need to put it in a crop mode to get extra reach and still have a 21 megapixel camera. My 500mm becomes a 750mm. The Z6 is my goto wildlife and sports camera. It shoots fast and clean at 24 megapixels.
I will be shooting strictly Z for the next two years as I expand the usage of the mirrorless re-invention of Nikon. I will also replace F-Mounted lenses with Z mount as they come out. Yes, I have a Z mount 13-30mm on order as we write this. I will talk about my progress over the next several months on future newsletters. This will include my camera setup and menu settings.
As with any new equipment, it takes time to learn it. I am now getting the quality and flexibility with the Z cameras that I had with my D5 & D850. The lighter weight ( my wildlife kit went fro 36 LB to 24 LB ), and smaller packing size, fits what I am looking for. It is easier to travel on smaller aircraft as well as to hike longer distances, (I am 63 at this writing), and bring home images with the quality I expect and have gotten from my Nikon gear since 1995.
This year I am presenting a Keynote and camera clubs program on mirrorless. It is called " Packing Light, A Wildlife and Nature Photographers Transition to Mirrorless". If your organization is interested, please contact me at [email protected]
Here are a few additional Z- images I have recently taken.
With all this mirrorless, I have been testing some different backpacks. The Mindshift Back Light 26L is a great pack for the mirrorless system. Mindshift and Think Tank have been a great choice of mine for years. Gary Farber of Hunts Camera has come up with a Vinny Colucci Workshop Special on the Back Light 26L. Check out the flyer below and get yours today at this awesome price.
Contact Alan at Hunts. Alan takes care of all my workshop and follower participants. He is most knowledgeable in photography, and one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.
You will love working with Alan for all your photogaphy needs. Ask about other Vinny Colucci Workshop specials.
Hunt's Photo & Video
100 Main St.
Melrose, MA 02176
Alans' hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, 8:30-5:00pm eastern
Next month we are headed to Triple D in Montana. We are listing our Tiple D July event now. We are about half full, so take a look at our web page and signup today. Click on the flyer below for additional details.
We also have our Birds in Flight Workshop the first week of May, 2019. Take a look at this wonderful event in St Augustine FL. Click on the flyer below to get additional details and registration.
A lot of you know that back in 2009 Andy Biggs, inventor of the Gura Gear Kiboko 30L backpack, got me one to test. It was the best backpack ever made and in my view, still is. Over the years the pack evolved to the point I didn't like it, so I switched. Well, guess what happened? The Gura Gear Kiboko 30L V2.0 is back. Same as the original with a few improvements.
I have been testing this bag since December and will carry it to Montana in February.
The Kiboko 30L 2.0 seems every bit as good as the original with a few updates that are outstanding. I write the review next month with my final thoughts on how it performed in the field.
Thank you all for taking a look at our newsletter. Until next month keep shooting and enjoy the light.