Upgrading my D-500/500pf update

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Tom Reynolds

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I was able to secure a R-7 from Berger Bros. It should arrive in about a week. B&H was unable to advise me if I was included in the first R-7 shipment and the word on the street is that most inventory available is R7+kit lens. Yesterday, Amazon advised me they expected to deliver me an OM Systems OM-1 July 6. It appears that I can start preliminary evaluations of both cameras within a couple of weeks.

Unlike other hands-on reports I have seen, my report will be exclusively from a Nikon D-500/500pf user. This user shoots handheld 80% of the time, 20% on a monopod/monogimble and only on a gimble tripod if he needs to carry it less than 20 feet to the blind.

I am not upgrading from a D-500 for any other reason than I want a compound (zoom) lens and the Nikon 200-500 zoom is too heavy for me. The D-500/500pf takes great pictures as does the D-500/300pf combo that I have. The problem is that I can't comfortably carry two camera/lens combinations and I don't wish to swap lenses or TC's in the field.

The process D-500

I shoot the D500 in two AF modes SP and GRP. GRP is standard and SP is initiated by pushing and holding SP1 on the front of my camera with my ring finger. Changing exposure compensation is hit and miss because it requires an inconvenient button push on the top of the flywheel plus a wheel spin. My wife and I have lost many shots to improperly set.

Being able to shoot like we do with the D-500 with the exposure compensation made easy is the first gate both these camera's need to accomplish for me to give up my D-500

The process R7
The R7 seems to have an easily reachable wheel on the camera back that will change exposure compensation without interfering with the shutter being half pressed to institute focus. BBAF users will find this less useful, but this is a big plus to my wife and I. I can't find out enough about how the R7 focuses and tracks to determine how I can duplicate the SP and GRP functions of my D-500. The R7/100-500 is 4.4# with the tripod foot removed. If a 100-400 is substituted the rig is 2.75#, both significantly lighter than the 5.2# D-500/500pf that I have.

The process OM-1
Changing exposure compensation with the OM-1 requires holding down the East (right) side of the multi-selector and spinning a wheel. I am uncertain how easy this is but will need to master it. Both the R7 and OM-1 have wysiwyg electronic viewfinders with the exposure graph in the view. The OM-1's viewfinder is higher resolution but I am unsure if this matters. On which camera is properly setting exposure compensation easier while concurrently tracking a subject will go a long way in determining what rig my wife and I will choose.

I know enough about the OM-1's AF to know that I can duplicate Nikon's GRP AF by simply creating a small focus area. Once I place the focus area on the bird it will track the subject throughout the frame. Since the OM-1 will focus on the eye that same process will work for stationary birds among clutter. Again, how easily I can duplicate how I currently shoot with the D-500 will go a long way to decide which rig is chosen. Th OM-1/100-400 weighs 3.8#, midway between the two possible Canon configurations.

Finally, which rig feels right in our hands?


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Looking forward to your upcoming review. Any specific reason you chose the R7 versus the R5/R6, cost, sensor size?

Tom Reynolds

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Things he said:

The camera focuses on the closest designated subject to the AF point. For the OM Systems OM-1 I think the subject needs to be in the AF area. Advantage Canon.

Another, sound with the Electronic Shutter so you know when you are shooting. Advantage Canon

Electronic shutter @ 30f/s OM-1 you can vary the f/s and 20-25 f/s is probably better. Advantage OM Systems.

From the R7 manual: 1 press on the BBAF locks focus on the subject (2nd press disengages)

Tom Reynolds

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I received both lenses today.
1-Canon 100-500 3#9oz with the foot on or the replacement ARCA foot on. Zoom is smooth. Does not have a lock but a rotating ring that changes the zoom tension somewhat. Hood locks securely. The replacement ring/foot is identical to the Canon. This design has been reported to accidently release and let the camera/lens fall. Lens is f/ 4.5-7.1 with the lens at f/6.3 at about 450mm. With a TC on the lens won't retract below 300mm. I think this is a nonstarter for me.
2-Olympus 100-400 3#1oz with the ring/foot which is not easily removable. I don't think I will. I had a ring/foot like it on the Sigma 150-600 and it was a pain. Has a lock. Zoom is smooth but relatively stiff. It looks like the hood coming off may be a problem. Lens is f/5.0-6.3. Apparently, a f/1.4 TC works well not that I am likely to use one.

Surprisingly, Amazon moved delivery from Aug 9 to July 6 to June 27 so I will have the OM-1 rig a couple of days before the R7 which was shipped Thursday ground from NY.

Both rigs will produce an 800mm equivalent compared to 750mm on my D-500/500pf