After three years Canon, back to Nikon. Nikon Z8 made me change my mind.

About Nikon cameras(Film, coolpix, DSLR and Nikon mirrorless "Z"), lenses, accessories, links and firmware updates and sample pictures.

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After three years Canon, back to Nikon. Nikon Z8 made me change my mind.

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Nikon Z8, the camera that made me change my mind.
------------------------------------------------
In this user review, I covered until now:
This topic will be continued with:
  • Canon EOS R5 vs Nikon Z8
  • NIKKOR Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR, a user review...
  • Nikon Z 70-180/2.8, a user review...
  • Nikon Z 24-120/4.0 S, a user review
------------------------------------------------
Hi to all of you!

When I changed from Nikon to Canon back in 2020 I was sure that this was a one-way ticket.
Changing brands is not only an expensive operation, but it is also a bit like changing lanes in a traffic jam: Once you change lanes, the one you were in before starts moving...:arrow: (*) :roll:
After I sold all of my Nikon gear and bought an EOS R5 with some lenses at the end of 2020 I became a very happy EOS R5 user for about 2 years...
But, and even though I still consider R5 as a fantastic camera, I started to be disappointed/frustrated with the lens releases and lens roadmap by Canon for budget-limited wildlife shooters. I felt like having to choose between an affordable F8 or F11 lens (great in good light but unusable at dawn or in the late afternoon), an overpriced RF 100-500 F7.1 (nikon is making a 200-500 F5.6 since 2015 for less than half of the price), or going far over my budget for fast long teles... :arrow: (*) :roll:

Meanwhile, Nikon released their Nikon Z8, the camera that -TMHO-, Z7II should have been, at least at that time point...

Image
I was watching every single Z8' video Nikon Europe or Nikon USA published on their YouTube channels... And wow... What a camera... :o
After every new publication, a feeling of growing regret about my move was walking into my mind...

When Nikon launched their Z 180-600 F6.3 on June 21st 2023 with a price of under € 2000, I started the first time to count the resell value of my Canon gear...
Image


:idea: Last Friday I sold all my Canon gear and got my Z8 with the lenses I wanted and needed for my work at CAMERA-TWEEDEHANDS.NL in Geldermalsen- The Netherlands.
My experience at camera-tweedhands.nl was: Crystal clear communication both on the phone and by email. The camera-tweedehands.nl-team has an excellent product knowledge, good trade-in prices and extensive choice of second-hand photo material. Correct handling, both technically and financially. Highly recommended, both for new and used photo material.
I bought my nikkor Z180-600 F4-F6.3 VR at Art and Craft Media in Ghent(Belgium). Excellent service and product knowledge as well as good prices.


I'm very happy to be a 100% Nikon user again...

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(*) Update: Just a week after my switch, Canon released what I was waiting for, :roll: the CANON RF 200-800MM F6.3-9 IS USM. I was totally unaware of this...
Do I regret my move? No. I wanted the Z8 since its release, and it surpasses by far my expectations...
Would I have moved back to Nikon if I had known the CANON RF 200-800MM F6.3-9 IS USM was right around the corner? Very probably not, for financial reasons...

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Nikon Z8, first impressions...

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Nikon Z8, first impressions...

Body and handling:
The Nikon Z8 isn't a small or a light camera body. It is more bulky and heavy than the EOS R5 I used during the last 3 years (910 grams vs 738 grams including battery and memory cards). The Nikon Z8 is a rugged pro-spec body with an impressive combination of amazing image quality, high resolution, high speed, and mind-blowing autofocus... On the other hand, it's significantly smaller and lighter than the Z9 while keeping the same specifications, dedicated buttons, and button layout.
The Z8' super-fast sensor and fully electronic shutter succeed in producing full-resolution images at very high speed for wildlife, action, and sports.


Autofocus:

The Canon EOS R5' AF is still fantastic as of today (and outstanding @ the time of its release back in 2020), but the Nikon Z8'AF is even better, faster, smarter... I was able to compare this with my Canon 100-400 EF with my fringer adapter on the Z8 vs the same lens with EF to RF adapter on EOS R5.
With native Z lenses on Z8 all AF experiences are what I hoped for. Finally a mirrorless Nikon with Nikon D500'AF capabilities, and better...

I was testing my Z8 + Z180-600 with my dog running fast in my direction and I had a 100 % success rate. Wow.
Circumstances were far from optimal because it was getting dark so I went into very high iso...
Thank you Nikon!

UPDATE, 2024 May 4th The Z8 & Z 100-400 combo' amazing tracking ability for high speed subjects...

Image

Here underneath from the above session, image 0734, taken handheld @ ISO 16000 :!:, with all IQ characteristics as it came straight out of the camera, resized to 1000px widest side, with sharpness just like all the others.

Image

While I loved the dual back button AF-ON setup on my R5, I was spending quite some time making a similar setup on my Z8 and it's functioning as I intended.
I deactivated AF on my shutter button(menu a6), and menu a1 setting on "release". I use the AF-ON button for one AF mode and dedicate the sub-selector as a secondary AF-ON button for another instant-accessible AF mode. All this is saved in one shooting bank. I left the Fn1 to choose the shooting bank.
The focus-mode button in the front of the camera is great for AF- selection and the Fn2 is set to RESET my focus point.
I activated the extended menu settings and saved these settings in my menu banks.


Image quality

Z8 jpegs straight out of the camera are outstanding. TMHO, this was never the strength of Nikon, Fuji was mastering this much better, until now.
On a recent three cushion billiards competition I used for the very first time my unprocessed jpegs for nearly all of my published pictures on my carom website.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Only for one, I used ADL (Active D-lightning) in Nikon View because of shadow in a face.
Image

I'm very happy with the skin tones and AWB Z8 delivers SOOC, even in rather difficult lighting situations like a billiard club..


Features:

I'm too early in my user findings to comment on all kinds of features, and I probably even won't go any deeper on this, but one very important feature that took my attention is the incredible image stabilisation, until now only tested with the combination of the Z8 in-camera stabilization and the VR of the 180-600mm.
I managed with ease, (only 1 trial) to get a sharp image of the nose of my little baby shooting at 1/8 of a second while handholding this camera-lens combo...
Image


Not so happy with...
As a downside, the battery doesn't last for many shots. Still have to find out how to save battery power.

Thanks for reading and kindest regards,
Stany
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You can support this website...

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Running this website is very costly in both time ànd money, which I don’t regret in the slightest, but it would be good to get some income to help cover costs.
There are no backlinks or affiliate links as you find on nearly every other photography website, there are only some advertisements from our photo gear suppliers and our own billiard cue company.

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Stacked CMOS sensor: Some interesting links...

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Nikon Z8 exposure latitude and DR

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From this afternoon, heavily cropped, taken in dark, cloudy weather.
This image was underexposed by 3 stops and has been post-processed while lifting shadows and exposure.
Just like all Nikon cameras since D800 & D7000, Z8' NEF files have a very large exposure latitude.


Image
kindest regards,

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Nikon 180-600 F6.3 on Nikon Z8

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2 images with the 180-600 taken handheld, resized to 1250px widest side. The first one with a 100% and exif pasted.
The images are as they come OOC.


Image

Image

A 100% crop of the above picture's AF area from the TIF after conversion in Nikon View:
Image
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I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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Z8 & nikkor Z 180-600: The moon with 180-600

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Z8 & nikkor Z 180-600: The moon with 180-600. 100% crop. B/W conversion in NV.

:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image
kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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Z8 & nikkor Z 180-600

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1. Cropped
Image

2. Resized to 1000px wide
Image
kindest regards,

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I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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Nikkor Z 100-400 on Nikon Z8

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The nikkor Z100-400 is an optical miracle

I am extremely happy with the Z100-400 lens. It's simply an optical miracle in a lightweight package with blazing-fast autofocus...
Incredible sharpness SOOC with subjects at long distances and it can be used as a nearly-macro lens with its 0.38 maximum reproduction ratio...


As a long-time Nikon user, I had the different versions of this kind of telezoom. From the original 80-400 AF VR, over the 80-400 AF-S VRII and the 200-500 AF-S F5.6.
During my 3 year as a Canon user, I had the excellent and lightweight RF 100-400 F5.6-F8, the EF 100-400 and I did a one-week test drive with the RF 100-500
Compared to all former or related Nikon versions, the Z100-400 shines. Sharpness and overall IQ beat all former Nikon versions by a big margin and the AF speed and accuracy is VERY fast.
The Z 100-400 focuses also significantly faster than the Canon versions, but that might be related to the outstanding Z8' AF engine.
Last but not least, the Z100-400 weight, -even though not "lightweight"- is just within my margin of portability limits for a longer walk and handheld shooting, whereas the Nikkor 200-500 and the Z 180-600 are too heavy for my liking....

Important to mention is that the underneath images have been taken handheld. ( For handhold wildlife photography I normally try to work at shutter speeds of minimum 1/2x focal length or faster)

My little baby, captured with Z8 and 100-400, handheld...

Image

and a 100% crop of the original, straight out of the camera, NO post-processing whatsoever...

:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

----------------

In the underneath 100% crop I pasted a view of the original image and the exif.

:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

One more, resized after cropping to 1000p widest side.
Image

-----------
Update 2024, jan 4

Two images from yesterday' shoot in very good circumstances related to light.

The scene, AF point and cropping area
Image

And a 100% crop resized to 640px widest side to protect this site from excess bandwidth usage. NO post-processing with exception of resizing to 640px wide(the full size crop is 1487 x 988px).
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

The scene, AF point and cropping area
Image

And a 100% crop resized to 640px widest side to protect this site from excess bandwidth usage. NO post-processing with exception of resizing to 640px wide (the full size crop is 1464 x 999px).

:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

------------

Nikon Z8 & Z 100-400 with TELECONVERTER Z TC-2.0x :cry:

I had the Z100-400 ànd the Z180-600 till yesterday. Sold the 180-600 because it feels too (front-)heavy and the 100-400 is a bit sharper but focuses significantly faster.
I got the Z TC-2.0x and, -when coupled with the Z100-400-, I am stupified about the AF speed. MUCH faster than the RF 800 F11 I used to have on my R5.
The first sharpness tests with the Z100-400 and 2xTC combo(on a tripod) gave me acceptable sharpness. A real-life sharpness test will follow.

My test target resized to 1000px longest side.
Image

and a 100% crop:
Image

800mm F11 is workable in good light. -->
viewtopic.php?f=35&t=4537

After 50-80 real-life test shots, unfortunately, the Nikon Z 100-400 + 2x TC combo doesn't come anywhere close to the sharpness the Canon RF 800 F11 provides.
Related to IQ, the Z 100-400 on its own is fantastic, the Z 100-400 + 2x TC combo is not. Images come out soft.
:idea: One possible reason for my less good experience with the 100-400 + 2x TC combo is sample variation among the 2x TC's. I might have got a less good copy of the Z TC-2.0x

I would love to see Nikon make a real lightweight and sharp 800mm like the RF 800 F11.

I must add that weather conditions were far from optimal for using an 800mm F11 combo. It was cloudy weather.

The underneath image was one of the best of my test shots, despite the slow shutter speed (1/500sec) while shooting handheld. Viewed @ 100% it looks soft, too soft & mushy for my taste, lacking feather detail.
Pictures taken at 1/1000-1/2000 sec didn't come out any sharper, partly because of the related high iso consequence...

The scene, with exif pasted inside.
Image

And a 100% crop, straight OOC :( :
Image

I will give this combo one more try when the light is better, with a faster shutter speed, because that is what a 800mm F11 combo requires...
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NCSET backup file for custom settings

Post by Stany Buyle »

For some unknown reason, Nikon does not provide its top models with very handy custom settings as they do with the entry-level models (C1, C2, C3) and like Canon does with all their cameras. During my switch from Canon to Nikon, that was one of the small downsides for Nikon.
You can solve this somewhat by saving the settings on one of the memory cards.
The file you have to save is named NCSET.
While most users format their cards once and a while, it is recommended to save this file on another storage medium.


:arrow: https://onlinemanual.nikonimglib.com/z8 ... c_309.html

:idea: TUTORIAL to Use Nikon’s Z9/Z8 Banks & Save Settings - Hudson Henry Photography
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Stany
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Re: After three years Canon, back to Nikon. Nikon Z8 made me change my mind.

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:arrow: Click on the image to open the 1000px wide version of this picture. (the full size crop is 2306x1577px)
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Nikon Z8 & Z 100-400 FOR CLOSE UP PHOTOGRAPHY

Post by Stany Buyle »

I wrote already that TMHO the Z 100-400 is an optical miracle.
Well, despite the winter period, we had an exceptionally beautiful, sunny day yesterday and the first insects showed up...

With Nikon Z8 & Z 100-400, taken handheld (*), some of the best images related to detail out of approx 40 images.
(*) Just like the optical quality of this remarkable lens, the image stabilization of the Z8 with the Z 100-400 is fantastic as well...

NO post-processing other than NEF conversion in Nikon NX STUDIO:

The scene:

:idea: This hoover fly was less than 1 cm in size.

Image

a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

Two more, captured handheld as well...

The scene and AF point (PINpoint AF):

:idea: This fly was about 1 cm in size.

Image

a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

The scene and AF point (PINpoint AF):
Image

a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image
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Z8 & Z 100-400 - long distance shot Detail

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Extremely good optics...
Here underneath a sample of the detail you get on a long distance shot:


:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image
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Z 8 Firmware Version 2.00

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Z 8 Firmware Version 2.00 :arrow: viewtopic.php?p=11563#p11563
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Nikon Z8 with the Nikon Z 24-120/4.0 S for close up photopgraphy

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Nikon Z8 with the Nikon Z 24-120/4.0 S for close up photopgraphy

The Nikon Z 24-120/4.0 S is a great lens for general use with high sharpness, fast AF and excellent VR, but where this lens really excels is for close-up photography...
Two samples, taken yesterday, on tripod. Converted to jpeg in NikonStudio. Noise reduction set to "off", NO sharpening, NO further post-processing.

The scene:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

------------

The scene:
Image

and a 100% crop:

:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image
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Nikon Z8 with the NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S for close up photopgraphy

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Nikon Z8 with the NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S for close-up photopgraphy

:!: Underneath images have been taken handheld.
:!: Please notice that these images and crop have NO post processing of any kind, with exception of conversion from NEF, cropping, and ©.



The scene:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:idea: Please notice that this image has been taken handheld and has NO post processing of any kind, with exception of conversion from NEF, cropping, and ©.

:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

The scene:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:idea: Please notice that this image has been taken handheld and has NO post processing of any kind, with exception of conversion from NEF, cropping, and ©.

:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

One more from the same session:

The scene and the cropped area:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:idea: Please notice that this image has been taken handheld and has NO post processing of any kind, with exception of conversion from NEF, cropping, and ©.

:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image
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My macro lens choice for Z8...

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My macro lens choice for Z8...
When I was shooting Nikon DSLR and the period after that with Z6 & Z7, the 105mm AF-S VR micro, often combined with the 2x TC(*), was my standard setup for close-up and macro photography.
As a Canon shooter I used the outstanding RF 100mm.
(*) On my D3, D800-...-D850 and on Z6-Z7 and bright sunlight you can still use autofocus with the Nikkor AF-S VR& 2xTC combo, with excellent results.
When I moved back to Nikon because of Z8 6 months ago, the 105 VR & 2x TC was what I purchased again. But while I realized a remarkable difference in IQ when comparing images taken with the RF 100, in favor of the outstanding RF 100, I sold it again after a couple of days. Up to that, the Z 24-120 VR, the Z 100-400 and the Z 70-180 F2.8 gave me enough close-up opportunities during late autumn and winter.

With springtime coming soon, I had to decide what Z macro option I would go for.
I tried both the Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S and the latest Laowa 90mm ultra 2x for Z mount and even though I like to rely on AF for close-up and even macro shooting I finally went for the manually focusing Laowa 90mm.

The reasons for my choice were:
  • The Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S lens, although optically simply stunning and near to perfection, is auto-focusing very slowly when compared to the Canon RF 100 and even slower than the 2007' nikon105 AF-S VR, especially at close distances.
  • The Nikkor Z 105mm 1:1 lens does not allow the use of a TC's while the RF 100mm has a 1.4 magnification and the old Nikkor 105mm goes to 2:1 magnification with a Nikkor 2xTCIII...
  • The Laowa is optically outstanding as well
  • The Laowa costs nearly half of the Z100 MC
  • The Laowa offers 2:1 magnification on its own... :o

Some first images as they came straight out of the camera and converted in Nikon studio, all taken handheld while relying on the 20 NEFS-fps option the Z8 provides, combined with focus peaking and the smooth focus ring.

The scene:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

-------------------------------

The scene:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

-------------------------------

The scene:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

Thanks for reading and kindest regards,
Stany
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You can support this website...

Post by admin »

Running this website is very costly in both time ànd money, which I don’t regret in the slightest, but it would be good to get some income to help cover costs.
There are no backlinks or affiliate links as you find on nearly every other photography website, there are only some advertisements from our photo gear suppliers and our own billiard cue company.

If you want to support this site, you can help...

...by making a donation...
You can make a donation to eSBee creations by credit card through the PayPal system. You do not need to have a PayPal account to do this. Click the logo to make a donation in various currencies, also with your credit card.

Thanks for reading this, and more thanks if you want to make a donation.

Rita and Stany Buyle, eSBee creations.


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Re: My macro lens choice for Z8... Laowa 90mm for Z mount

Post by Stany Buyle »

My macro lens choice for Z8...Laowa 90mm for Z mount

One more image straight out of the camera and converted in Nikon studio, taken handheld while relying on the 20 NEFS-fps option the Z8 provides, combined with focus peaking and the smooth focus ring.

The scene and crop area:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image


Thanks for reading and kindest regards,
Stany
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Re: Nikon Z8 & Z 100-400 FOR CLOSE UP PHOTOGRAPHY

Post by Stany Buyle »

With Nikon Z8 & Z 100-400, taken handheld (*)

NO post-processing other than NEF conversion in Nikon NX STUDIO:

The scene & exif:


Image

a crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the 1000px widest size crop.
Image
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Re: After three years Canon, back to Nikon. Nikon Z8 made me change my mind.

Post by Stany Buyle »

My macro lens choice for Z8...Laowa 90mm for Z mount

One more image straight out of the camera and converted in Nikon studio, taken handheld while relying on the 20 NEFS-fps option the Z8 provides, combined with focus peaking and the smooth focus ring.

The scene and crop area:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image


Thanks for reading and kindest regards,
Stany
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Close-up from the same creature, with Z100-400 & Laowa Z90MM

Post by Stany Buyle »

2 close-ups from the same creature, once with Z100-400 & once with Laowa Z90MM, both taken handheld.

With Z8 & Z 100-400:
The scene and crop area:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

With Laowa Z 90mm:
The scene and crop area:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image
kindest regards,

Stany
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Z 8 Firmware Version 2.01

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Z 8 Firmware Version 2.01 :arrow: viewtopic.php?f=33&t=5664
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The Z8 & Z 100-400 combo' amazing tracking ability for high speed subjects...

Post by Stany Buyle »

I LOVE this incredible camera combined with the Z 100-400 lens for nature photography...

This afternoon I took pictures of some (very late arrived) swallows.

In their permanent hunt for mosquitoes and other insects, the swallows skimmed over the water of the pool at extremely high speeds. The associated potential for motion blur forced me to maintain shutter speeds of 1/8000 sec and faster.
Depending on the final image quality after cropping, it became a matter of finding a compromise between shutter speed and not too high ISO.
After many trials varying from 1/4000 to 1/32 000 sec, a shutter speed of 1/10 000 sec gave me the best results.
Despite the very fast and erratic motion, my Z8 & Z 100-400 combo managed flawlessly to nail focus on every single shot... Wow. :o :o :o Thanks one more time to Nikon.

Even though I consider the Z 100-400 to be an exceptionally good lens for amateur nature photographers like me, I have to admit that in this case, the Z 400mm F2.8 would be even better… :( :? :cry: ...€€€ ... :( :? :cry:

And last but not least, since I see little to no distortion of the subjects in the final images, Nikon seems to have achieved an excellent performance with the Z9/Z8 in connection with the rolling shutter effect.


A screenshot of all shots with their numbers as you see in Nikon NXstudio:
Image

And 3 full-size crops (no noise reduction applied):


Image 0652 :arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop, (which is a screenshot to reduce file size).
Image

Image 0657 :arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop (which is a screenshot to reduce file size).
Image

Image 0660 :arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop (which is a screenshot to reduce file sizenloads).
Image

Tip: For achieving this lens focusing speed, I limit my Z100-400'focus to 3m -
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Stany Buyle
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Wildlife action with Z8 and Z 100-400. Electronic shutter 1/16 000 sec

Post by Stany Buyle »

Wildlife action with Z8 and Z 100-400. Electronic shutter 1/16 000 sec

The scene and crop area as you see in Nikon Studio:
Image

:arrow: Click on the image to open the full-size crop, (:idea: :!: which is a screenshot to reduce file size).
Furthermore, this image is straight out of the camera, converted from NEF in NikonStudio, no post-processing has been applied other than adding ©

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Stany Buyle
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My macro lens choice for Z8...Laowa 90mm for Z mount

Post by Stany Buyle »

My macro lens choice for Z8...Laowa 90mm for Z mount

Some very little spiders... Images straight out of the camera and converted in Nikon studio, taken handheld while relying on the 20 NEFS-fps option the Z8 provides, combined with focus peaking and the smooth focus ring.

The scene and crop area:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image


The scene and crop area:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

The scene and crop area:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image

The scene and crop area:
Image

and a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full size crop.
Image
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Re: After three years Canon, back to Nikon. Nikon Z8 made me change my mind.

Post by admin »

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Stany Buyle
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Nikon Z8 & Z 70-180 F2.8 FOR CLOSE UP PHOTOGRAPHY

Post by Stany Buyle »

With Nikon Z8 & Z 70-180 F2.8, taken handheld (*)

NO post-processing other than NEF conversion in Nikon NX STUDIO:

The scene


Image

And a 100% crop:
:arrow: Click on the image to open the full-size, 100% crop.
Image

Approx. 17 years ago with my D3, I would have been very happy capturing this kind of detail with a macro lens, flash and on a tripod... Today, capturing images like this can be done easily with a standard zoom, handheld, and without flash.
kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
http://www.fotografie.cafe
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