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  1. #1
    Senior Member

    Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!

    So I picked up a Z6ii as my full frame camera after selling my D750 to sort of push me to a "have to buy" position, and was looking forward to it being my walkaround camera, figuring that my D500's would stick around as my wildlife bodies. In researching settings and focus modes I came across a wildlife photographer who mentioned that he tried it out with his 500mm f4 and 1.4TC, something he could never do with the D4 he was using up until then, and was quite pleased with the results. I was intrigued so I decided to give it a shot with my 500mm f5.6, something that lives on my D500 but not with the TC because it was just meh.

    I was astounded at the sharpness. With the improved focusing of the mirrorless the combination of the 500mm f5.6 and the TC1.4 was as close to "tack sharp" as I'd allow when using that term. So I started doing the math. With the TC the 500mm on the Z6 has a 700mm equivalence, while without the TC it has a 750mm equivalence on the D500. BUT the 24.5MPs on the Z6 mean that even though it might be lesser reach it could be as good or better reach than the 20.9MPs on the D500. So from a rainy garage today I set about testing out what was what.

    I mounted the 500mm on a tripod and shot the same thing with the D500 and the Z6 + TC. Here's what I found...

    Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!-z60_0463-copy.jpg


    I overlaid the Z6 image with the D500 and aligned the layers and they were a near exact match!! The smaller image on the top is the D500 capture at 50% opacity so you can see the Z6 image underneath (I inserted a gray translucent layer to make the delineation more perceptible). So, if I'm shooting with the TC I can shoot anything I want with the Z6 and not lose a pixel, and likely have a better keeper rate because of the focus system. It also gives me a bigger arsenal of primes because I essentially own a 300mm f4, a 420mm f5.6, a 500mm f5.6, and a 700mm f8.

    The biggest down side to the Z6ii is the frame rate, where I lose 5 fps if I want to see live through the viewfinder, but in a pinch I can set it to 12fps where it will display the previous image image instead so if you're tracking you could get lucky.

    Now, I'm not about to sell the D500's, but I'm more than pleasantly surprised to have a 3rd "wildlife body" now, and one that has a silent shutter - so no more frightening hummingbirds away when I fire off.

    Just thought I'd leave this out there for those of you who might be toying with the idea of whether or not to go mirrorless. I've had the Z6ii for 3 days and I'm more than a little impressed. I just wish the weather was better for field testing.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Dangerspouse's Avatar

    Re: Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!

    That was extremely interesting. Thanks for posting that.

    I'm curious to hear how you find the EVF compared to optical once you start following fast moving objects.
    Fiat lux. Fiat vox.

  3. #3
    Staff
    Super Mod
    hark's Avatar

    Re: Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!

    I will be interested in hearing how the combo performs with birds in flight. What I've read is that mirrorless bodies aren't as quick to focus on moving subjects which is where DSLR's tend to outperform. But I have no firsthand experience myself. Will be curious to hear your thoughts.
    Cindy - D750, D500, D7200
    My 2021 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci



  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Danno's Avatar

    Re: Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!

    I am really glad to hear that you are enjoying the Z6II. I was a bit reluctant to play it up to much but I was pretty certain that you would like the sharpness of the sensor. That is what I love about the Z6. It is so sharp and the IBIS and WYSIWYG really helps me. I am anxious to hear what you think of the tracking with the Z6II. For me the Z6 was a big improvement over my D7200 but that has never been my strong suit.

    I hope you weather straightens out soon. I would like to hear your view on tracking. I am glad to hear you like it so far.
    Dan~~Kentucky

    "The natural man must know in order to believe; The spiritual man must believe in order to know. " ~ Aiden Wilson Tozer ~ "The Dwelling Place of God"

    Nikon Z 6 Nikon, Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8S, Z 85 f/1.8S, Z24-70 f/4S, Z14--30 f/4S
    Nikon D700 w/Grip, AF-S Nikkor 200-500 mm f/5.6E ED VR, Tamron 28-75, Tamron 70-200 F/2.8

    ,
    https://www.dailywalkinthelight.com

  5. #5
    Senior Member

    Re: Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!

    Got to spend a little time outside yesterday after the rain stopped and just before I had to go in a couple Red Tail Hawks took flight. Thankfully they didn't soar off in the wrong direction this time. Focus grabbed fine even though I was in a mode I wouldn't have normally wanted (Wide Area L) and I was caught by surprise and was shooting a little slow (1/1000s) so any misses I had were motion blur and not focus for the most part.

    This is a sequence of 4 shot handheld with the 500mm f5.6 + 1.4xTCii. Cropped in and light adjusted only.

    Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!-z60_0628-copy.jpg

    Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!-z60_0629-copy.jpg

    Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!-z60_0630-copy.jpg

    Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!-z60_0631-copy.jpg

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Dangerspouse's Avatar

    Re: Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!

    Those look great!
    Fiat lux. Fiat vox.

  7. #7
    Senior Member

    Re: Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dangerspouse View Post
    Those look great!

    Yeah, I have to keep reminding myself that there's a TC on there. I don't know that I'll shoot this way a lot, but it's nice to know I can.

  8. #8
    Senior Member

    Re: Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!

    So, I've had some more time to spend with the Z6ii as a wildlife camera and I'm starting to settle on the idea that it does some subjects great and some not so much, and all of that comes down to focus modes and whether or not you're in the one you want for a particular situation. Plus it's frustrating as heck that you can't pick up the camera and immediately have the EVF activate with your eye and instead have to wake up the camera first (surely something I could get used to, but...). For small birds especially I'm thinking that the D500 will be my go-to for a while. With the 1.4xTC on the 500mm (what it takes for them to be equal) I'm also convinced it doesn't focus as fast.

    Still need to do more tests, and this is still a learning period for me, but I think it's gonna stay this way at least until they come up with a zero blackout EVF on a 24+MP sensor. Still love the Z, though.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Whiskeyman's Avatar

    Re: Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!

    This is good info, Jake.

    I had my mirrorless camera thinking altered yesterday when I was out with two mirrorless shooters. While I didn't shoot with either of their cameras, I did hold them and am astounded with the lightness of the system. I was also impressed with the IQ.

    I'm not going mirrorless anytime soon, but I'm now leaving room for the possibility of a chage to mirrorless one day.

    WM
    I drive an old car so that I can buy more photo gear.

  10. #10
    Staff
    Super Mod
    hark's Avatar

    Re: Z6 as a D500 Replacement?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Whiskeyman View Post
    This is good info, Jake.

    I had my mirrorless camera thinking altered yesterday when I was out with two mirrorless shooters. While I didn't shoot with either of their cameras, I did hold them and am astounded with the lightness of the system. I was also impressed with the IQ.

    I'm not going mirrorless anytime soon, but I'm now leaving room for the possibility of a chage to mirrorless one day.

    WM
    I've never held one so really don't know their weight - but did the people who had mirrorless bodies have lenses that were specifically made for mirrorless? I would think DSLR lenses with an adapter might add some heft to the overall weight. Maybe???
    Thanks/Like Whiskeyman Thanks/liked this post
     
    Cindy - D750, D500, D7200
    My 2021 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci







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