Author Topic: Mirrorless replacement for the D500 and long tele’s  (Read 429 times)

Jan Anne

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Mirrorless replacement for the D500 and long tele’s
« on: January 06, 2022, 12:07:24 »
Most NG members eyes are on the Z9 and the improvements it can bring to the Zee platform as a whole in the near future, in the meantime Sony is also causing a lot of excitement by rolling out the new a7IV with trickled down features of their one year old flagship a1 camera.

The flagship features now available on the a7IV:
- Bionz XR processor
- 759 focus points with 94% coverage
- People, animal and bird eye AF
- Same body with larger grip and larger buttons
- Improved responsivenesses and menus
- CFExpress A card slot with infinite buffer
- USB-C 3.2 10GBit/s interface for fast file transfers

The latest iteration of the a7 line has new non-stacked 33MP sensor and can do 10 frames per second (compressed RAW) which in theory would make it a perfect mirrorless replacement for my beloved D500 with 200-500VR when combined with the Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3.

Even though we should see a similar lens from Nikon and huge autofocus improvements later of this year I simply could not wait any longer knowing that I can finally get fast autofocus performance in a compact mirrorless camera so ordered the Sony 200-600mm and later the a7IV when the tele proved to be legit.

It felt weird to buy yet another Sony when Nikon is so close in closing the AF performance and lens gap but after reminding myself that the whole reason I went mirrorless 8 years ago was to discover lenses from other brands and mounts so the best way to continue this approach is by staying a hybrid Nikon / Sony shooter and enjoy whatever lens fits my needs best regardless of which brand is on the lens barrel.

There’s already a ton of reviews online about the new Sony so I will mainly focus on sharing my experiences from the perspective of a Nikon shooter to see what the level of maturity is of mirrorless technology in general and if it can finally replace a DSLR for fast tele action.

Below the D500 with 200-500VR and a7IV with 200-600mm side by side, note that the latter is at 600mm with its fixed length whereas the Nikon is more compact at 200mm for easier storage and travel but will be longer when extended at 500mm.
Cheers,
Jan Anne

golunvolo

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Re: Mirrorless replacement for the D500 and long tele’s
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2022, 21:01:33 »
I sold the d500 in orther to get a second Z6 as the silent shutter proved invaluable on theaters. I had to make peace with the viewfinder lag but the cameras performance is very good for my needs. That said, a true d500 replacement in mirrorless form will really get my attention...
 

MILLIREHM

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Re: Mirrorless replacement for the D500 and long tele’s
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2022, 23:45:27 »
It is always a matter of taste if one waits longer or is more impatient. Unlimited waiting is not wise in any way.
The question is: Does the D500 need to be replaced at all?
Oh yes, first of all It would be fine to get a D510 update that keeps all good features with some improvements.
For me the replacement needs to be a DX camera either or a fast high resolution FX format camera that gives enough resolution when cropped
A D6 could not replace it, the D850 is a good add-on but not fast enough and has lesser AF area coverage, the Z9 promises to be both fast and high resolution and can take parts of the job, but it is larger and heavier than the D500 without grip and needs the big batteries. For replacing D500s hiking capabilities together with a rather compact supertele-zoom it would need something smaller that is still fast (nothing in the Z-series does that currently)
Sonys A7V is full-format and just 33 Mpx

BTW: imho the adaptiveness is something different. If you need a fast action combo, the number of usable lenses is rather limited. If you want to be able to adapt "all lenses" the Nikon z-mount with its lowest flange distance is in the #1 position now (after the limits of  F-mount having one of the longest flange distances)

Wolfgang Rehm

Jan Anne

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Re: Mirrorless replacement for the D500 and long tele’s
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2022, 00:39:12 »
Sure, but an FX 33MP sensor with a 600mm lens has the same 750mm FOV when cropped to the D500’s 21MP with a 500mm lens and we already know Nikon will replace the 200-500VR with a 200-600mm. As both the mirrorless camera and lens are lighter than the DSLR combo we get more lens for less weight.

Not sure if Nikon is still using Sony sensors in the Z6/7 cameras but if they do this sensor might end up in the Z6III, the a7IV is limited to 10 fps at 12bit lossy compressed RAW but the Z6III should easily trump that with the newer Expeed 7 processor and faster CFexpress B cards. Sony always seem to restrict their lower end cameras to protect the sales of their tier one cameras but Nikon usually provides the best camera they can make for a certain price range.

I agree that an FX 45MP at 10fps would even ideal for more range but I don’t think I am interested in a DX mirrorless camera for tele work as FX mirrorless cameras already have 94% coverage for the AF points and the EVF can fill the screen when DX crop is enabled which FX DSLR cameras can’t do but the D500 could which is why it is so well suited for long tele work.

If I was still invested in exotic Nikon glass I would go straight for the Z9 or wait for the ZIII cameras later this year but the 200-500VR is the only autofocus F mount lens left in the camera bag and am not particularly attached to it. So I’ve decided to build up a mirrorless lens portfolio of both Nikon Z and Sony FE lenses cherry-picking the lenses that suit my preferences the best and use them natively instead of crippling them with adapters. On the radar are the Sony 24/1.4 and 135/1.8 GM lenses which combine incredible sharpness with stunning boke, another candidate is the unique 14/1.8. For Nikon Zee I am currently mainly interested in the 100-400, 200-600 and the long primes but will lean back and let that unfold in the coming two years while using the Sony 200-600 :)
Cheers,
Jan Anne

Jan Anne

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Re: Mirrorless replacement for the D500 and long tele’s
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2022, 11:38:24 »
I’ve send 138 RAW files to Bill to measure performance of the new 33MP sensor and have to send 32 more on the high gain ISO400 setting.

33MP is halfway the current 24MP and 45MP sensors used in the ZII models and the new sensor seems to combine the strengths of both in one chipset, at the first native ISO the DR matches the Z7II with even lower noise levels but the Z6II has better noise levels at ISO800 and above when it kicks into high gear noise processing.

Not sure if I would want to give up the super clean Z6 files at high iso but the extra DR and cropability is surely appreciated :)

Links to the source:
https://www.photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm
https://www.photonstophotos.net/Charts/RN_ADU.htm
Cheers,
Jan Anne

Luc

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Re: Mirrorless replacement for the D500 and long tele’s
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2022, 12:54:56 »
Looks like a a great solution for you JA. I also use two camera systems (Nikon and Olympus) and sometimes I get confused in handling one system shortly after the other. Muscle memory and so. No problem for you?

Erik Lund

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Re: Mirrorless replacement for the D500 and long tele’s
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2022, 14:27:53 »
Apart from all of the technical details, the body of the new Sony looks like it manages a whole lot better with the larger lenses - Congratulations!
Erik Lund

Jan Anne

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Re: Mirrorless replacement for the D500 and long tele’s
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2022, 15:03:04 »
Where my first gen a7R and a7S were a complete shock control wise as a Nikon shooter things slowly improved with the a7RII but with the latest gen Sony cameras like the a1, a7SIII and a7IV they seem to have copied the tried and true Nikon button layout and body design which makes switching between cameras a lot easier.

Below two comparison shots with the original a7S on the bottom, the a7IV in the middle and the Z6 on top.

The gen I and II Sony cameras had no dedicated AF-ON button but could be remapped to the AEL button, the gen III had a tiny flush button but now the a7IV now has a dedicated and raised AF-ON button like the Nikon cameras had as long as I can remember. There is now also a joystick for AF point selection like on the Nikon bodies, the combination should have a very similar muscle memory recall when the action heats up.

On top the shutter release button is now on the grip instead of the camera itself but this already changed with the gen II a7 cameras. The a7IV does now have a much larger grip like the Nikon cameras which as Erik mentions improves handling larger lenses considerably although it will never beat a full sized Dx/Z9 body. The clearance between the grip and lens is btw better on the Z6, with thick gloves on its a tight squeeze with the a7IV.
Cheers,
Jan Anne

Eddie Draaisma

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Re: Mirrorless replacement for the D500 and long tele’s
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2022, 18:36:34 »
That pristine white (and excellent) 200-600 really needs a Lenscoat! Before mounting it remove the plastic window over the buttons, much more convenient...

Jan Anne

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Re: Mirrorless replacement for the D500 and long tele’s
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2022, 13:43:45 »
With bigger grips come bigger batteries, where my gen I & II a7R/S would go through multiple NP-FW50 7.3Wh batteries a day the newer gen Sony cameras come with the much bigger NP-FZ100 16.4Wh batteries which are on par with the Nikon 16Wh EN-EL15c batteries.

Interestingly the a7IV does not come with a battery charger but with a USB-C charger and cable to charge the battery in camera.

Attached a few snapshots of a grey Nikon EN-EL15, Sony FZ100 and the tiny FW50 battery for size comparison.
Cheers,
Jan Anne

Jan Anne

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Re: Mirrorless replacement for the D500 and long tele’s
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2022, 13:56:58 »
That pristine white (and excellent) 200-600 really needs a Lenscoat! Before mounting it remove the plastic window over the buttons, much more convenient...
As finger space between grip and lens is already limited I’ve opted for a vinyl camo wrap :)
Cheers,
Jan Anne