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Help with an upgrade of lens or camera. Can't do both!

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Old Sunday 12th May 2019, 00:52   #1
Intercooler
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Help with an upgrade of lens or camera. Can't do both!

I found a small money tree :) and need some opinions on where to upgrade my gear.

I use a Black Rapid while birding with a D500/Sigma 150-600 Contemporary. It's been pretty easy to take and do anything I want.
Thoughts of stepping it up a little in picture quality smoked out the D850 and new Sigma 60-600 Sports lens. I shoot moving and sitting birds and might mix a few more landscapes in this year while doing it.

Would the money be better spent on the D850, or Sigma 60-600 for an image quality bump? I prefer zooms for what I do which rules out the primes and especially the weight of most.
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Old Sunday 12th May 2019, 06:26   #2
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I have used the d500 + tammy 150-600g2 and the d850 + tammy. I got rid of the d500 and now only shoot the d850. I find the IQ is better and I can still crop down to about the same MP as the d500. I use the d5 battery + grip for 9 FPS. It's heavier and bulkier and a lot more expensive, but this way I only have one camera. I prefer FX other types of photography.

I have not used the sigma lenses, but from what I've heard there is not much of an IQ difference between the Sport and Contemp. It's the weather sealing (and added weight).

Recently I've been shooting the new 500mm f/5.6e. It's a great lens, and I've not been using the Tammy 150-600 any more. It takes the 1.4xe3 TC very well (at f/8, so limited Af points and no 3d tracking). I've shot at very low shutter speed hand held at 700mm with it on the d850: the VR is great. I imagine the 500mm f/5.6e on the d500 would be pretty awesome too.

So, in summary, if you want to shoot FX for other reasons, the d850 upgrade might make sense, but you will lose the 1.5x crop factor and the AF points over the whole frame, and some FPS without the d5 battery. I don't think that upgrade makes sense if you're mostly doing birds or don't need FX for some other reason. I think the 500mm f/5.6e might be a better upgrade, along with the 1.4xe3 tc.

Maybe someone can chime in about the sport vs contemporary. From the youtube's I've looked at, it didn't seem to be worth the upgrade on IQ alone, and it's a fair bit heavier.

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Old Sunday 12th May 2019, 08:39   #3
GrahamCW
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Nikon P900 all day long
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Old Sunday 12th May 2019, 08:40   #4
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Nikon P900

Nikon P900 all day long. Does everything you need for Bird Phonography and more
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Old Sunday 12th May 2019, 13:15   #5
Intercooler
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Nikon P900 all day long
Got it. It just sits now. Not even in the same league and only use the P900 for Kayak in case it goes in the water.
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Old Sunday 12th May 2019, 14:47   #6
Chosun Juan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intercooler View Post
I found a small money tree :) and need some opinions on where to upgrade my gear.

I use a Black Rapid while birding with a D500/Sigma 150-600 Contemporary. It's been pretty easy to take and do anything I want.
Thoughts of stepping it up a little in picture quality smoked out the D850 and new Sigma 60-600 Sports lens. I shoot moving and sitting birds and might mix a few more landscapes in this year while doing it.

Would the money be better spent on the D850, or Sigma 60-600 for an image quality bump? I prefer zooms for what I do which rules out the primes and especially the weight of most.
I think you really need to work out what you want to do and how you want to do it.

Looking at lenses and birds - focal length and speed rule.

f6.3 is more or less as slow an open aperture lens as you want. If you go from DX to FF (to pick up better high ISO performance) you will lose image size. Cropped FF shots (to restore image size back to DX levels) will bring the resolution back to the native DX resolution of the D500 anyway. As pixel pitch of the two sensors will be very similar - you have to ask yourself what are you really gaining? Unless you plan on doing lots of ISO 64-100 shooting, you will gain mostly size, 1/2 a kg in weight, and 1fps reduction in speed (assuming you add the vertical grip to the D850), .... oh, and a lighter wallet !

As far as lenses go, I have read mixed reports on the Sigma 60-600. The Nikon 200-500 f5.6, Tamron 150-600 G2 f6.3, and Sigma Sport 150-600 f6.3 all offer IQ around about the same level, which is a bit of a step up from the Sigma 150-600 f6.3 Contemporary and Tamron 150-600 G1 f6.3. However only the Tamron G1 & G2 are around about the ~2kg mark of the Contemporary. The Nikon is 300g heavier, and the Sigma Sports are 700 & 800g heavier - That's a fair whack. If you plonked one of the Sports on a D850 you'd be carting an extra ~ 1.3kg (~3lb) or about an extra ~45% ! .... nothing to be sneezed at. I can't imagine that ~4.2kg (over 9lb) hanging off a Black Rapid strap is going to be all that much fun .... You'd really have to judge that against any focal length flexibility you may gain.

If you really want a better long lens without going all the way to the f4 Primes - you are looking at the Nikon PF 500 f5.6 which does it's best work wide open. If it was me (with a majority bird focus) I'd get this lens and stick it on the D500. Using the 1.3x in-camera crop factor you could quickly flick between 750 & 1000mm equivalent for a quasi-zoom. You could also add a 1.4xTC to get you 1050 & 1400mm eq @f8.

If you have an interest in landscape /generalist photography you could look at getting additional lenses. I use the Tokina 12-28 f4 DX Pro, which on my D7200 gives me an 18 - 42 - 56mm eq lens (when using the 1.3x in-camera crop factor to extend the long end). I'd like a faster lens with IS for hand held indoor available light photography, but this is compact and great value. You could go with the Nikon 10-24 f4.5 - f5.6 (or the slightly faster f3.5-f4.5 Tamron equivalent) for 15 - 36 - 48mm eq. , or the 11mm f3.5 MF IRIX for 16 - 22mm eq. , or the superb (but much larger) Tamron 15-30 G2 f2.8 for 22 - 45 - 60mm eq.

If you wanted a more generalist lens you could also add a 24-70 f2.8 for 36 - 105 - 140mm eq, or perhaps the new Tamron SP 35-150 f2.8 - f4 for 52 - 225 - 300mm eq. There are other f4, f2.8, and f1.8 (eg. Sigma 50-100 f1.8 = 75mm-150mm-200mm (@1.3x crop) 35mm eq) options besides, and also ultra fast f1.4 portrait lenses too - depends on what you will mostly be doing.

Say you stuck with the D500 and had 3 lenses for it + a 1.4xTC
Tamron 10-24 f3.5-f4.5 - landscapes. 35mm eq focal range = 15 - 36 - 48mm (@1.3x crop)
Tamron 35-150 f2.8-f4 - generalist (+ portraiture at a pinch in good light). 35mm eq focal range = 52 - 225 - 300mm (@1.3x crop) - 420mm f5.6 (@1.3x crop + 1.4xTC)
Nikon PF 500 f5.6 - wildlife /birds. 35mm eq focal range = 750 - 1000mm (@1.3x crop) - 1050 f8 (+1.4xTC) - 1400mm f8 (@1.3x crop +1.4xTC)
That pretty much covers everything - Yes?

* If you just wanted to limit it to one other generalist lens besides the telephoto, you could choose something like the Tamron 17-50 f2.8. This would give you a 35mm eq focal range of 25 -75 - 100mm (@1.3x crop) - 140mm f4 (@1.3x crop +1.4xTC) ....... passable for landscapes to travel /general to portraits. Another slightly slower option might be the Nikon 16-80 DX f2.8-f4, that would cover 35mm eq from 24 - 120 - 160 (@1.3x crop). That would cover quite a lot of what you could want to shoot in general. All of these choices depend on whether you prefer speed or compactness /light weight. The genuine Nikon articles also offer more security of compatibility going forward too.

Despite what Marc has said, one reason I would go the PF 500 f5.6 upgrade path in your case (+ whatever additional shorter lenses suit what you will be doing) is the looming prospect of a high resolution 'Z8' Mirrorless. The S line Z lenses so far are killing it for across the frame IQ. This is likely to represent a much bigger IQ gain than any change in DSLR body at this time.

A higher res (~60MP + rumoured) FF really is an all-in-one FF/DX camera body. Nikon should have the AF nailed by then after the recent eye-tracking firmware update to the Z's. The PF 500 f5.6 has been working quite well with the FTZ adapter from all reports, and any landscape/ generalist native Z lenses added will be money very well invested in my view.





Chosun

Last edited by Chosun Juan : Monday 13th May 2019 at 11:28.
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Old Sunday 12th May 2019, 20:11   #7
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Originally Posted by GrahamCW View Post
Nikon P900 all day long. Does everything you need for Bird Phonography and more
Have you ever used a good slr and lens combination.The p900 is a good camera that takes good images but comes nowhere near to a decent slr and lens combo.
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Old Monday 13th May 2019, 18:27   #8
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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
Despite what Marc has said, one reason I would go the PF 500 f5.6 upgrade path in your case (+ whatever additional shorter lenses suit what you will be doing) is the looming prospect of a high resolution 'Z8' Mirrorless. The S line Z lenses so far are killing it for across the frame IQ. This is likely to represent a much bigger IQ gain than any change in DSLR body at this time.
This is probably a reference to what I've said about the PF 500 on the Z7. I'm underwhelmed by the AF performance, which is pretty great on the d850. I'm sure it's an issue with the Z7, not the lens. I really hope this get fixed in the next firmware update coming out soon.

I agree with Chosun that the PF 500 f/5.6e is likely your best lens upgrade from the 150-600. After that, you're looking at used 400 f/2.8 (with TCs) or the Sigma 500 f/4 or used Nikon 500 f/4 -- all of those will be in the $6000 - $8500 range. They are all much more expensive and much heavier.

If I were to go long + fast, it would either be the 400 f2.8 or 500 f4. I really like 400 f2.8 + TCs, but the Nikon is 1kg heavier than either Canon or Sony and almost the same price. I could buy a used Canon mk II for the same weight and $2k less than the Nikon f/2.8e used ($4k less to a new one).

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Old Tuesday 14th May 2019, 07:03   #9
Chosun Juan
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Originally Posted by marcsantacurz View Post
This is probably a reference to what I've said about the PF 500 on the Z7. I'm underwhelmed by the AF performance, which is pretty great on the d850. I'm sure it's an issue with the Z7, not the lens. I really hope this get fixed in the next firmware update coming out soon.
Marc,

Yes, I think there is probably high hopes with the Nikon Mirrorless AF firmware update coming.

As far as I understand the physics and engineering of it, the actual ultimate limits of Mirrorless AF mechanics and communication pathways of Mirrorless lenses (and perhaps even adapted DSLR lenses on Mirrorless) are superior to DSLR. It's only a matter of manufacturers getting their processing capabilities, algorithms and software together, along with better EVF's and operating protocols for them to take the lead (protective market positioning of the next DSLR flagship D6 notwithstanding).

With you having (or had) a variety of the top Nikon combinations contenders, you are well placed to comment on the following:-

As I understand it, bodywise, the AF pecking order goes: D5, D500, D850, others .....

Likewise, for the (prosumer) lenses we are considering, (on something like a D500 body for practicality and realism sake) it goes: PF 500, Tammy G2, Siggy Sport (150-600), Siggy Sport (60-600), Nikki 200-500, others .....

What is your experience for AF speed/ accuracy on the same DSLR body between the PF 500 and the Tammy G2 ...... ?



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Old Tuesday 14th May 2019, 20:54   #10
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Marc,

Yes, I think there is probably high hopes with the Nikon Mirrorless AF firmware update coming.

As far as I understand the physics and engineering of it, the actual ultimate limits of Mirrorless AF mechanics and communication pathways of Mirrorless lenses (and perhaps even adapted DSLR lenses on Mirrorless) are superior to DSLR. It's only a matter of manufacturers getting their processing capabilities, algorithms and software together, along with better EVF's and operating protocols for them to take the lead (protective market positioning of the next DSLR flagship D6 notwithstanding).
There's no way Canon and Nikon will risk the 2020 Olympics on a mirrorless flagship camera, whereas Sony is on A9ii and might get some traction (and they promise "revolutionary" features). But I think after that, it will be almost all mirrorless.

My understanding is like yours, the shorter flange length is just better for lenses, especially shorter focal lengths. There's also details about the thickness of the sensor glass, which is often what makes hybrid shooting not so great.

Quote:
With you having (or had) a variety of the top Nikon combinations contenders, you are well placed to comment on the following:-

As I understand it, bodywise, the AF pecking order goes: D5, D500, D850, others .....
I have not used the d5, but it is supposed to be the tops. I personally don't notice much difference between the d500 and d850. They both AF in near darkness (at least in center position). The main thing, I think, is that on the d500 the AF points cover almost the whole sensor while on the d850 it does not cover a lot of the vertical. They are both the "Multi-CAM 20K" type autofocus system (which is same as d5).

I believe the d7500 has the "Multi-CAM 3500 II" autofocus system, same as d7200.

The d5 and d500 will do 200 image bursts at 12 FPS and 10 FPS (continuous AF and exposure), respectively. Thd d850 is only 51 consecutive (but much larger) images at 7 FPS (EN-15 battery) or 9 FPS (EN-EL18 battery). The 51 image buffer has not been a problem for me as I rarely spray for long. 7 FPS is noticeably slower and you will miss some action shots. I really noticed it when I switched from d500 to d850. With the high-power grip, at 9 FPS, it's not a big difference.

The d850 can do a 30fps continuous DX (jpeg) format live-view "silent" shooting (SL2 mode), with fixed focus and exposure, possible banding under some lighting conditions, and moving subjects can appear distorted. I'm not sure what the max buffer is for that, it might be huge as the images are much smaller. You can also do SL1 that allows FX raw images but that's capped at 6 FPS. The d850 silent mode has some features I don't like, but it's really nice when you want it. I use it when I'm expecting motion from a stationary subject, such as a heron hunting in a field or a perching bird about to take off. Definitely not to be confused with the A9's 20 FPS.

Quote:
Likewise, for the (prosumer) lenses we are considering, (on something like a D500 body for practicality and realism sake) it goes: PF 500, Tammy G2, Siggy Sport (150-600), Siggy Sport (60-600), Nikki 200-500, others .....
I have not used the Siggy's, but from reviews I have not heard of different IQ performance between the Sport and Contemporary.

On a DSLR, I would order like you have: PF 500, Tammy 150-600, ..., Nik 200-500.

I have not used the 200-500 in a long time, so my recollection of its speed might be a little fuzzy. When I got the Tammy, I sold the 200-500. The 200-500 is very bulky. The tammy is more compact, gives great photos, and has more reach. Given enough light, the AF performance on the Tammy and 200-500 is probably pretty close, but like I said, this gets a bit fuzzy for my memory.

Quote:
What is your experience for AF speed/ accuracy on the same DSLR body between the PF 500 and the Tammy G2 ...... ?
I reported here some informal tests between the PF 500 and G2. In a nutshell: the PF 500 is noticeably faster than the G2 under the same lighting. I tested in slightly overcast settings, not in super bright light. So I am not totally sure if this is an f/6.3 vs f/5.6 issue, or how much that contributes to it. When using the PF500 in the field (not at home side-by-side with the G2), I've found the AF to be very good and very fast. It is not instant like the 70-200 f2.8 or 400 f2.8, but it's very fast.

In all likelihood, I'll be selling the Tammy G2 soon.

I have been getting excellent results on the d850 (after AF fine-tune) with the PF 500 and PF 500 + 1.4e3 TC. The claimed 4-stops VR seems to be true. I've hand-held the 700mm at under 1/100th on still subjects. The main issue is an f/5.6 lens + TC will only have 25 cross sensor in the center of the image, and then the others only along the horizontal. As long as you are somewhat aware of where your limited focus points are, you can get good results.

Basically, a f/4 + 1.4x TC or a f/2.8 + 2x TC will have almost twice the number of cross sensors (45 vs 25) compared to a f/5.6 + 1.4x TC. They will also retain 3d tracking. But they are super expensive and heavy.

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Old Wednesday 15th May 2019, 01:42   #11
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Originally Posted by marcsantacurz View Post
There's no way Canon and Nikon will risk the 2020 Olympics on a mirrorless flagship camera, whereas Sony is on A9ii and might get some traction (and they promise "revolutionary" features). But I think after that, it will be almost all mirrorless.
I'm not suggesting that Mirrorless will take over flagship duties for the Olympics - that will definitely be the IDXIII and D6. Ergonomics, familiarity, and professional support are as important as anything else. I'm not even sure that a Sony a9II is anything more than a speculative rumour anyway - or that it is needed. The a91.5 via firmware seems to offer fantastic AF performance. What may pop up out of the blue (to keep Sony in the news in the face of the new CaNikon DSLR flagships) is a needed lightweight new 600 f4 GM .... we'll see .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcsantacurz View Post
My understanding is like yours, the shorter flange length is just better for lenses, especially shorter focal lengths. There's also details about the thickness of the sensor glass, which is often what makes hybrid shooting not so great.
The shorter FFL (and wider diameter mount throat) offers better lens design freedoms, but it is the way that Mirrorless can continously control focus without interruption where the real advantage lays. This is reinforced by the greater communication pathways built into the Mirrorless mounts.

One of the Nikon managers described it as being analogous to an automotive ABS. The DSLR's is basic, sampling only a few times (for example only) per second - once that last measurement/prediction is given before the mirror starts travelling up, that's it - no further adjustment in lens position is possible. The Mirrorless system on the other hand is like a modern high frequency ABS - the focal position can be tracked and sampled continuously, and adjustments made 10x while the lens is travelling to it's last instructed position. It can be made to stop, go further, or even the other way while en route offering greater AF precision.

The EVF is the final part of the system (apart from algorithms, processing, or any AI) and it is not quite there yet in terms of the resolution, blackout, refresh rate, lag time equation. Sony though, does have a 5 point something Million dot EVF sitting in its catalogues (which it will keep to itself for a sufficient period of time no doubt !)

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcsantacurz View Post
I have not used the Siggy's, but from reviews I have not heard of different IQ performance between the Sport and Contemporary.
The superiority of the Sport(s) is definitely there over the Contemporary in terms of wide open centre and edge IQ based on what I have read ..... I'm just not sure it's nearly a kilogram better ! or that readily detectable in practice. The Tammy G2 seems to be the pick of the bunch (apart from the new Nikon PF), and the Nikki 200-500 is right in there too, if that important third of a kg heavier.


Quote:
Originally Posted by marcsantacurz View Post
I reported here some informal tests between the PF 500 and G2. In a nutshell: the PF 500 is noticeably faster than the G2 under the same lighting. I tested in slightly overcast settings, not in super bright light. So I am not totally sure if this is an f/6.3 vs f/5.6 issue, or how much that contributes to it. When using the PF500 in the field (not at home side-by-side with the G2), I've found the AF to be very good and very fast. It is not instant like the 70-200 f2.8 or 400 f2.8, but it's very fast.
Thanks for that
I am patiently waiting for the PF 600 f5.6, but the way demand and production of the 500 is going, that may be some time ! and my willpower to resist the 500 is weakening !! Canon might solve the dilemma for me if it comes up with a compelling '7DIII' (that will outdo the Nikon D500 or even any D500S successor) for use with the DO 400 f4 ISII + 1.4xTC, but rumours of them maintaining a full Pro level for the 7D line is not overly encouraging at this point. Again, we'll see ......





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