Is It Time To Ditch Your DSLR For Wildlife Photography?

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Charlie Lasswell

Well-known member
Supporting Member
So...my real question is: have you made the switch to Sony mirrorless? Just judging from your various posts and responses, I get the impression that the a1 is now your favorite; the one with the fun. So...I'm wondering if you're admitting that you've made the switch.
 

Steve

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So...my real question is: have you made the switch to Sony mirrorless? Just judging from your various posts and responses, I get the impression that the a1 is now your favorite; the one with the fun. So...I'm wondering if you're admitting that you've made the switch.
Nah, I still use the Nikons. Just used the D6 last week to get the image below (mostly because I needed a 70-200 2.8 to do it though and I don't have one for Sony yet - still the D6's low light capabilities were an asset). Still, yes at the moment the a1 is my favorite, it solves a lot of problems I've had over the years and can keep up with what I need it to (not always the case with Nikon, even the D6 would sometimes not keep up with me LOL). I'm still hoping for a Z9 that's a tteh same level however - I like Nikon better overall. Right now, it just can't keep pace with the Sony for the really tough stuff.

Oh, also keep in mind I'm trying to learn the Sony system and that means it needs to be in my hands most of the time :)

gsm-0518-DSC_4089-Edit-Edit.jpg
 

Charlie Lasswell

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Nah, I still use the Nikons. Just used the D6 last week to get the image below (mostly because I needed a 70-200 2.8 to do it though and I don't have one for Sony yet - still the D6's low light capabilities were an asset). Still, yes at the moment the a1 is my favorite, it solves a lot of problems I've had over the years and can keep up with what I need it to (not always the case with Nikon, even the D6 would sometimes not keep up with me LOL). I'm still hoping for a Z9 that's a tteh same level however - I like Nikon better overall. Right now, it just can't keep pace with the Sony for the really tough stuff.

Oh, also keep in mind I'm trying to learn the Sony system and that means it needs to be in my hands most of the time :)
So if I read between the lines properly: You have made the switch, but you're not admitting it, so your kit is incomplete. Maybe once you release a Sony book and it's sales surpass your Nikon sales you can pick up a few lenses. 😀
 

Marcus Slade

Active member
Supporting Member
Nah, I still use the Nikons. Just used the D6 last week to get the image below
Super image, Steve. Funnily enough, I got my first decent flight shots of Barred Owls recently using the D6 and 300mm PF. Seems I'm always shooting these guys in low light and grasping for shutter speed. As you've said elsewhere, this combo has solved problems for me that previous gear couldn't.
 

Steve

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So if I read between the lines properly: You have made the switch, but you're not admitting it, so your kit is incomplete. Maybe once you release a Sony book and it's sales surpass your Nikon sales you can pick up a few lenses. 😀
Nothing between the lines - I plan to shoot both. Right now I'm favoring Sony, but because of what I do (books, reviews, even workshops), I can't always use the "favorite" camera. The moment a new firmware comes out for the Z cameras I switch back to those so I can update the book. If I do a Sony book, same will apply. When the Z9 comes out, I think the D6 will go and I will be all mirrorless except for my D850 (maybe - I may keep the D6, haven't decided), but in any event I'll be shooting with the Z9 for awhile. The truth is, in the next year or two I'd also like to add Canon to the mix. It would be good to know all the big three systems.
 

HRB

Member
That’s a nicely balanced video, thanks Steve! But here is my biggest dilemma regarding a total switch to Nikon mirrorless. I currently have the following cameras; D500, D850, Z6ii. I mostly shoot wildlife so I have the 200-500 and the 300pf and a TC1.4. The camera/lens combo I use most often is the z6ii/300pf/1.4 configuration because it light and fast. I would like to pick up the Nikkor 500pf. If I did, then why would I ever let go of the D500 or the D850? So then $3600 would have been spent on a great lens that can be used on all the cameras but adding future Z mount long range glass (100-400, 200-600) would take a back seat. Since funds are limited, do I purchase the 500pf (if I can even find one) or sell out the DSLRs and spend that money on future Z mount glass and camera bodies? Currently, I’m just treading water to see what Nikon’s future holds in store.
 

Calson

Active member
My wife has been shooting with the latest mirrorless pro cameras from Olympus and they are more advanced in key aspects, like the EVF, to the full frame mirrorless cameras. With MFT cameras and lenses the weight and bulk is half that of a full frame mirrorless or DSLR cameras and lenses and the cost is far less as well. If I was going to ditch my Nikon DSLR cameras and lenses I would be looking at Olympus MFT as they provide the best lens options for mirrorless cameras and lenses overall.

If I was shooting video then Canon or Sony would be the decision to make. Much of the gains in market share by Sony were with sales to people shooting video. With Canon there is by far the widest range of cine lenses for those shooting videos as well as the 100-500mm lens for wildlife videos.

One should not look only at the available mirrorless cameras but also the available lenses being provided by their manufacturers or third parties. I have noticed that some lenses are now being offered only in Canon or Sony mounts and not with either Nikon mount. That indicates that Nikon's mirrorless camera market share is shrinking compared to that of Canon and Sony.
 

Steve

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That’s a nicely balanced video, thanks Steve! But here is my biggest dilemma regarding a total switch to Nikon mirrorless. I currently have the following cameras; D500, D850, Z6ii. I mostly shoot wildlife so I have the 200-500 and the 300pf and a TC1.4. The camera/lens combo I use most often is the z6ii/300pf/1.4 configuration because it light and fast. I would like to pick up the Nikkor 500pf. If I did, then why would I ever let go of the D500 or the D850? So then $3600 would have been spent on a great lens that can be used on all the cameras but adding future Z mount long range glass (100-400, 200-600) would take a back seat. Since funds are limited, do I purchase the 500pf (if I can even find one) or sell out the DSLRs and spend that money on future Z mount glass and camera bodies? Currently, I’m just treading water to see what Nikon’s future holds in store.
Sadly, we're in a transitional place and there's no good answer. The good news is you can use the 500PF on the mirrorless cameras and I do so with good success. In fact, the Z7ii and the 500PF are my preferred hiking / kayaking combo. The thing is, you can always sell the 500PF is the 200-600 looks like a better fit and not be out the entire cost of the lens. I'm personally keeping my 500PF until Nikon comes out with a dedicated mirrorless version - however - it's not even on the roadmap. So, I feel like the 500PF is a lens you can still get a lot of use of for a long time.
 

DaleJr

Member
Sadly, we're in a transitional place and there's no good answer. The good news is you can use the 500PF on the mirrorless cameras and I do so with good success. In fact, the Z7ii and the 500PF are my preferred hiking / kayaking combo. The thing is, you can always sell the 500PF is the 200-600 looks like a better fit and not be out the entire cost of the lens. I'm personally keeping my 500PF until Nikon comes out with a dedicated mirrorless version - however - it's not even on the roadmap. So, I feel like the 500PF is a lens you can still get a lot of use of for a long time.
This is why I went ahead and purchased. I figured it will be some time before Nikon releases any PF versions of the current 300mm and 500mm on the Z system. I figured it would be a safe bet for the next 2+ years.
 

Grumpy

Active member
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Nah, I still use the Nikons. Just used the D6 last week to get the image below (mostly because I needed a 70-200 2.8 to do it though and I don't have one for Sony yet - still the D6's low light capabilities were an asset). Still, yes at the moment the a1 is my favorite, it solves a lot of problems I've had over the years and can keep up with what I need it to (not always the case with Nikon, even the D6 would sometimes not keep up with me LOL). I'm still hoping for a Z9 that's a tteh same level however - I like Nikon better overall. Right now, it just can't keep pace with the Sony for the really tough stuff.

Oh, also keep in mind I'm trying to learn the Sony system and that means it needs to be in my hands most of the time :)

View attachment 19642
Hard to beat that! If the Z9 can do as well/better, then I'm in.
 

DaveL

New member
Do you have a lightweight camera too?
Years ago my lightweight was a Leica M3 and as many lenses as I could afford (Not many. :) )
I have had shoulder problems; healed now. I carry a Sony RX100-7 for everyday carry, including work. I don't mean to hijack this thread; I don't know where to ask this question.
 

NorthernFocus

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I use a Sony a6000 with a couple of kit lenses for travel photos. Though must admit now using cell phone more and more.
 

DaveL

New member
I have an a6000 as well. It was a lightweight camera system. I broke (it's healed ) my left shoulder. I replaced my kit zoom lenses with a Sony FE24240 lens because I couldn't change lenses. It's incredible Dan. But it's heavy.
 

RikWriter

Active member
I switched to Sony from Canon because I'd made the choice to go mirrorless and while I love Canon, financially, it didn't make sense for me to go with them when I would wind up having to switch all my lenses as well as bodies.
My gear was older, anyway: 7D MKII, 1DX, 500m f4L IS V1, 1.4X TC VIII and 100-400 VII. I'd talked to other Canon shooters who'd switched to the R5 and they told me that the 500 V1 didn't autofocus well with the R5 and the adapter. So, I would have wound up spending around $6500 for the R5 and the 100-500 and then had to spring for at least a 500 VIII (more likely a 600 VIII) to work with the adapter.
Or, I could go Sony. I bought the a7rIV, the 200-600 and a 1.4X TC and took them to Yellowstone. And I loved that setup. So, I got back, sold my Canon gear and bought an a9II (used), a 100-400 and a 24-105 f4. The 24-105 is kind of on the basic side, but I don't do much landscape anymore.
I'm going to buy the 600mm f4 GM at some point, but there's no hurry. I don't regret it. Mirrorless is great and I love the EV.
 

markymark

Active member
Supporting Member
Nope…the good ole D500 works just fine. It would rather spend $$ on lenses, not cameras.
For the level of photography that I do the D500 is doing a stella job & I think my next purchase will probably be a D850 which is still counted as a very good camera.
For the amount of money it would cost me to change over to the mirrorless system I agree with Andrew & would rather spend that money on prime glass for my DSLR’s.
 

Woody Meristem

Well-known member
As Steve pointed out, there are so many advantages to mirrorless that I'd never again purchase a DSLR to use for my photography (unless it was a used one to put in a camera trap). I now have four mirrorless cameras, each has good features and not so good and wish I could combine them in to one perfect -- for me -- camera.
 

Nikondale

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Supporting Member
At this point in time I think I will stick with my DSLRs. I have recently acquired a Nikon 180-400 and have been having a great experience with the lens. Being a non-professional my Nikon D850, D5, and D500 fit my shooting habits. I am sure the mirrorless bodies are soothing to the souls of those who choose to learn a new system. For me, at 74 years old, DSLRs are my last camera system. Ps I also have an Olympus Em1.
 

Woody Meristem

Well-known member
For me, at 74 years old, DSLRs are my last camera system.
Well I'm older than that by a fair bit and have gotten into mirrorless for all the advantages they have over DSLRs. But I so like the cameras I have that I can't see that I'll change brands or systems. I may purchase another camera if one of mine breaks or just plain wears out.
 
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