About the Photographer
Nikon professional DSLRs have defined excellence in the industry for sports and wildlife for quite awhile now. Nikon cameras consistently offer “best in class” Base-ISO performance (D850), “best in class” low-light performance (D5), as well as most complete APS-C offering available (D500). With incredible focus tracking (ALL), fortified by industry-leading, rugged durability (ALL), Nikon empowers the photographer with the optimal tools for capturing the moment under any conditions. With each shutter actuation also rendering not only the finest in color fidelity, but the widest dynamic range also, it’s easy to see that Nikon enables the discriminating photographer to nail a once-in-a-lifetime shot like no other.
While the trend these days is to “go mirrorless,” I still rely on “The Holy Trinity” of Nikon’s finest DSLRs for most of my photography. No mirrorless offerings are (yet) as ruggedly-dependable as these top-tier Nikon DSLRs, delow, nor do they deliver quite the image quality … either in low-light, @ Base-ISO, or when relying on APS-C performances. When the absolute finest image quality is your goal, Nikon DSLRs simply deliver—and it’s a good feeling to know you have one (or more) of these tools at-the-ready when you’re out there.
The Professional’s Choice when it comes to action. The Nikon D5 is a niche camera; it is not for everyone. If you want to purchase “one” truly über camera, especially if you don’t have the best in super-telephoto glass, then get the D850 if you think you’ll be doing a lot of cropping. The D850 will beat the D5 in many areas, when you don’t possess “enough lens” to fill your frame. That said, when you do have enough lens to fill your frame, this is when you’re in business with the D5. Also, the moment low light comes into play (especially when there’s movement), this is when the D5 truly shines. When you are shooting over ISO 2000 (which happens in early morning, at dusk, as well as in jungle conditions—”where the gold is,” more often than not), it is under these critical conditions that the D5 is the camera to use. With unrivaled AF acquisition, the finest high-ISO dynamic range & color fidelity, the D5 will make make the most out of your absolute finest lenses under these challenging conditions. The D5 also delivers “a look,” a stamp of class to your results, that budget gear will never achieve. As the saying goes, “Class is hard to define—but those who have it are unmistakable,” and the Nikon D5 is a class act.
See @ Nikon: Nikon D5
The Nikon D850 was the first DSLR of any kind to receive a perfect 100 DxO Mark, offering the finest base ISO performance of any camera available today, surpassing even medium format. To quote DP Reveiw, “… we feel that the D850 will satisfy the needs of an incredible variety of photographers, and we’re comfortable saying the D850 is the best DSLR on the market today.” To the exquisite image quality, Nikon has added pro-level construction, as well as an incredible panacea of options and customization potential. Although the D850 is fully-capable of capturing wildlife images, where it remains peerless is for landscape, portraiture, and artistic macro imagery. With stunning dynamic range and incredible color fidelity at Base ISO, the D850 remains The Standard for image quality within the industry. The ability of the D850 to add Focus Shift Shooting to its class-leading image quality makes this an exciting camera to own and use.
See @ Nikon: Nikon D850
While APS-C cameras are usually looked down upon as wildlife cameras, the D500 is actually pretty hard to beat. Winning multiple awards its first year in production, the D500’s combination of reach (1.5x crop factor), top image quality within its class, great dynamic range, along with pro-level ergonomics & customization—and a better AF system than any other camera but the D5—all add up to make the D500 a solid choice for wildlife. Quite simply, the D500 is the best DX (APS-C) camera ever made. While FF cameras do offer better image quality “in a perfect world” (when you can fill the frame with the subject) … the truth is, for smaller birds and such, even the best FF cameras often can’t fill the frame … even deploying the finest glass … and it is here where the D500 beats them all. Just remember, any time FF images have to be cropped-in to achieve the D500’s framing (which is more often than many realize), the D500 is actually the preferred tool for the job. Check the comparison. (up to ISO 2000, after which the D5 beats them all). This makes the D500 the preferred wildlife action camera as often than not, in decent light 😎
See @ Nikon: Nikon D500
Having watched the mirrorless revolution grow, Nikon has finally entered into this exciting new market. While other brands have struggled pioneering their tech development (poor build quality, over-heating batteries, limited EVFs, and sub-optimal lens mounts), Nikon sat back and watched. With the mirrorless market now mature, and with proven tech having been established, Nikon has now launched its own mirrorless camera offerings: The Z-Mount. Nikon’s new offerings, when looked at critically, offer key advantages in multiple important aspects.
To begin with, the fit and feel of the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 cameras are on another level. Not just ergonomically, but in their structural integrity. You can’t ‘upgrade’ important physical attributes with “downloads”; your camera either has a solid, classy fit & finish, it either has rugged durability, or it doesn’t. The Z cameras have both. As important, the physical superiority of the Nikon Z-series’ EVF (what you see) is also several cuts above the competition, as is the resolution of their LCD screens. The combined total of these physical advantages creates a camera that you not only will enjoy for a long time, but that will last (and remain relevant) for a long time.
Finally, the Z-Mount itself possesses critical specifications which position Nikon for future leadership in the segment. The Z-Mount’s 16mm flange distance, mated with its 55mm throat width, means Nikon’s Z-Mount lenses will be superior to what is available all other systems. Nikon’s mount dimensions also mean Nikon Z-mount cameras can adapt to any other lens from any other manufacturer … while no other system will be able to take advantage of the new Nikkor Z-mount S lenses. These are huge strategic advantages, going forward, for Nikon Z cameras. The Z-Mount cameras are not only the most flexible, in terms of what your options are, but the levels of edge-to-edge clarity, and subtle color-correction, achievable with Z-mount “S” glass are not possible in any other mount.
The Z7 is essentially a D850 “on steroids” (in some ways), yet—to be honest—it is lacking in others.
On the negative side, the Z7 does not have quite the AF ability of the D850. Also, critical in some applications (high-contrast situations, where there are dark-darks, and bright exposure areas), the Z7 also is not “ISO-less” like the D850. This means, if you have more than a 5-stop difference in exposure, the PDAF of the Z7 (a limitation in ALL mirrorless DSLRs) will not give you the same “ISO-less” performance of “The Holy Trinity,” above. [Reference this video, also, btw. 4:33 – 6:24).]
That said, in all other “normal” circumstances, the Z7’s IBIS significantly amplifies the effectiveness of any MF lens, as well as any quality AF lens without VR. Since I use mostly MF glass, the combination of the Z7’s class-leading EVF (indispensable for macro), its IBIS, as well as the additional bonus of its ability to focus-peak, the Z7 has expanded my horizons in a most pleasant way. When hand-holding MF glass, I therefore use the Z7 almost exclusively now. The Z7’s light-weight and compact size are an added bonus.
I still consider the D850 to be a superior landscape camera on a tripod … and the D5 and D500 are superior for wildilife.
However, as a macro lens, and especially as a “walkaround” or travel camera (for street and portrait—especially so with the new Z 24-70 f/2.8 S lens), the Z7 is fast becoming my favorite camera to use. With the most recent pro-level “S” glass out-performing even the best DSLR primes, I predict that the value and performance of Nikon’s Z-mount system will readily become “industry leading” in all of the mirrorless world, in a very short time … as more and more class-leading “S” lenses come out. I will be adding a Z-mount sports camera to my arsenal as soon as it come out.
See @ Nikon: Nikon Z7