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Nikon to Stop Developing New DSLRs


ShunCheung
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Indeed! Those lists are long, but admittedly, of old designs.

Not all of them - the Tamron 35-150/2.8-4 was only released in April 2019. I own it and its performance and utility is one reason I hang on to the D810.

Another reason is that there is no ideal match camera body to go with it yet. Z9 users are expected to get top-of-the-line lenses such as 400/2.8 TC, 800/6.3 etc.

There's plenty of people that purchased the Sony A1 and use the 200-600 on it - there's no reason to assume the same wouldn't hold for Nikon Z9 users as well. While I am considering the Z9/800PF combo, the 200-600 would most likely be 2nd on the list. Within the Sony system, there are other cameras that do well with the 200-600; the A1 performs just better.

Of course, some will mix and match different levels of cameras and lenses but still, I think to achieve success with the 200-600, they need a compact, affordable, but fast-focusing camera body. Nikon may be tweaking the lens so that it performs particularly well with those upcoming camera bodies.

I think you are correct in this. But I also need to remind myself that Nikon has a long history of putting equipment releases for the "enthusiast amateur" last (upgrading the AF 80-400 to AF-S, releasing a VR version of the 300/4). They finally broke the mold with the surprise release of the 200-500 - but might be falling back to their old ways yet again. On the other hand though, Nikon is breaking new ground with the 500PF and now the 800PF - excellent lenses at "reasonable" prices.

Edited by Dieter Schaefer
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There's plenty of people that purchased the Sony A1 and use the 200-600 on it

 

I am sure, but since Nikon only recently launched the 400/2.8, 400/4.5 and 800/6.3, it makes sense for Nikon to wait until perhaps many of those Z9 users have bought one or two of those and make a lot more money than selling just an inexpensive and slow 200-600 to them. If someone can afford a Z9, most likely they can also afford a lens of similar price or more. Generally if one wants the best results, putting 80% of the money in the body and 20% in the lens doesn't quite do it. Of course, there are good & inexpensive lenses but to impress the viewer, I'd place most of the money on the lens side.

Edited by ilkka_nissila
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If someone can afford a Z9, most likely they can also afford a lens of similar price or more. Generally if one wants the best results, putting 80% of the money in the body and 20% in the lens doesn't quite do it.

I've seen plenty of examples where this isn't true - the AF performance of the camera was the determining factor, not the performance of the lens. And to boot - the Sony 200-600 provides excellent image quality. Unlike Nikon, Sony and Canon users either have the choice of reasonably priced or exorbitantly priced lenses.

 

Speaking strictly for myself, if there was a Z7 body with good AF performance, I'd not consider a Z9 - alas, there isn't so in order to get the best AF performance I have to overspend on the camera body. Luckily, a 800/6.3PF is within financial reach, a 800/5.6 most certainly not (and neither would be a 600/4, 500/4 or 400/2.8).

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Speaking strictly for myself, if there was a Z7 body with good AF performance, I'd not consider a Z9 - alas, there isn't so in order to get the best AF performance I have to overspend on the camera body.

+1

 

There have been numerous references to AF speed on Z bodies, mainly that the non Z9s are not great, ie slow.

 

There's nothing wrong with accuracy, just speed of initial lock and/or ability to change AF quickly to keep up with a subject.

 

Sadly, I have many sequences of, for example, 10 frames of a Bald Eagle slowly flapping at about 45 degrees to me, maybe 30m away with non in focus, but all out-of-focus by the same degree. The Z6ii dosn't seem able to either track fast enough and/or actually move the focussing elements fast enough with either my 300 or 500mm PF. my D500 and D850 seem capable of keeping up.

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I've seen plenty of examples where this isn't true - the AF performance of the camera was the determining factor, not the performance of the lens. And to boot - the Sony 200-600 provides excellent image quality.

 

I am not a Sony user so I don't have first-hand experience with the 200-600, but by looking at images posted by users who have all of the following: 200-600, 500 PF and 600/4 shot in similar lighting conditions and environments, I don't see the quality of the 200-600 to be as good as the modern prime lenses; the images from the zoom are a bit duller in colour and contrast than e.g. the 500 PF. When I asked the owners who had posted those images they admitted that this is the case but they still use the 200-600 a lot. Everyone has their own criteria of what they value and consider good. The 200-600 is also heavier than the Nikon 500 PF or the 400/4.5 Z and takes quite a bit of space in the bag. I think if the objective is to have the most convenient and easy to grab the subject then Nikon seems to have quite good options as well.

 

Unlike Nikon, Sony and Canon users either have the choice of reasonably priced or exorbitantly priced lenses.

 

Nikon have the 100-400 and 400/4.5 which both seem competitively priced, as is the 500 PF, and the 800 PF is basically bargain-priced compared to competing lenses of roughly similar aperture and focal length and their reported image quality.

 

Speaking strictly for myself, if there was a Z7 body with good AF performance, I'd not consider a Z9 - alas, there isn't so in order to get the best AF performance I have to overspend on the camera body.

 

Nikon have stated that they will migrate Z9 technology across the lineup, so the Z7 III is likely to have good AF. Sony isn't perfect here either, as several people who have used the A7 R IV with the 200-600 have complained of erratic AF even with slowly moving or static subjects, and the A1 or A9 series is needed to get the best results from this lens. The A1 is even more expensive than the Z9.

 

Either way, the best kit costs quite a lot of money.

 

Luckily, a 800/6.3PF is within financial reach, a 800/5.6 most certainly not (and neither would be a 600/4, 500/4 or 400/2.8).

 

To get the 800/6.3, one might have to wait longer than for the 200-600.

 

For me the 400/4.5 is the most interesting of the Z long lenses and one I am likely to purchase at some point. I value the aperture and compactness more than zooming ability and would consider f/6.3 just too slow. The 400/2.8 TC is way above my budget and too large as well.

Edited by ilkka_nissila
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To get the 800/6.3, one might have to wait longer than for the 200-600.

Sad but true; waiting for Nikon to deliver - what a shocker!

100-400 and 400/4.5

From what I've read, Nikon finally got a 100-400 right - unlike the previous 80-400 versions. The 400/4.5 definitely is unique - but not for me as 400mm is too short for me. I am judging everything from the perspective of a bird photographer where the name of the game very often is to have a fast enough shutter speed (1/2000s or faster) to freeze motion with apertures that are f/4 at best and with the more affordable lenses f/5.6 or even f/6.3 (or worse) while still providing excellent AF tracking capabilities. Currently, with Nikon mirrorless, only the Z9 will do. I never owned a D3, D4, D5, or D6 - either too expensive or - with the later versions - too few MP compared to the lower-end D850 (or even D500). For the same reason, the Sony A9 wouldn't do - the A1 would (even with the longest lenses, cropping is often required to produce the final image).

 

Nikon have stated that they will migrate Z9 technology across the lineup, so the Z7 III is likely to have good AF.

Nikon has rarely put the same AF performance of their flagship pro-bodies into "lower-end" bodies - so I am skeptical they are going to change their habits.

and the A1 or A9 series is needed to get the best results from this lens

Stood next to someone with an A1/200-600 combo and had to acknowledge that AF acquisition and tracking were better than with my Nikons (D850 and D500; both with the 500PF). Someone else just exchanged the D850/500PF for an A1/600 f/4 for the same reason (I assume a Z9 was considered but not available). I have seen quite a few birders upgrade from their previous "low-end" equipment to the likes of Sony A1 or Canon R5 with high-end lenses - and their learning curve in producing in-focus images is substantially sped up by the AF performance these cameras deliver. Eye-AF often works - so the focus is where it's supposed to be - unlike with a DSLR where all you can usually manage is to keep the head in the active AF area, producing a lot of images where the focus is every so slightly off.

 

Sadly, I have many sequences of, for example, 10 frames of a Bald Eagle slowly flapping at about 45 degrees to me, maybe 30m away with non in focus, but all out-of-focus by the same degree.

Few things photographically are more frustrating than having a moving subject in the viewfinder and realizing that the AF isn't going to lock on and track - and that there's nothing you can do about it. I managed a lot of bird-in-flight images because I acquired the bird early and then the camera somehow managed to stay on target with the bird approaching (same with airplanes). But especially with small birds the situation often changes so fast that the AF just hopelessly hunts around.

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moving subject in the viewfinder and realizing that the AF isn't going to lock on and track

Sometimes I think it does have a lock, but can't keep the mechanics moving fast enough to get it in focus at exposure time, it's always a nice consistent 30cm off. Whether it's trailing or leading, I can't always tell, but i suspect the former.

 

It still has a fondness for nice, high contrast backgrounds even when not within the AF box, but i guess it gets a very slight glimpse every know and then from 'human' tracking error!

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t still has a fondness for nice, high contrast backgrounds even when not within the AF box, but i guess it gets a very slight glimpse every know and then from 'human' tracking error!

Any background that isn't thrown totally OOF and become smooth that way challenges the AF. I wasn't even talking about slight OOF images; I was referring to those instances where the moving subject stays a blurry mess in the viewfinder despite the AF area being on it and the human does its very best to keep it there - yet the AF never locks and the image opportunity is lost. Close subject priority is supposed to help in that situation - yet one ends up with focus on the background.

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I wonder if more could be done with user set focus limiters?

Doubtful. On DSLRs I believe it's mostly restrictions inherent to the system design with its dedicated AF sensor whose operation is hindered by the moving mirror, combined with the limitations imposed by limited processing power and AF-motor power. User-set focus limiters might help under some circumstances but are only a band aid; more often than not, they will be a hindrance rather than a help. Better AF algorithms might help but that's likely a very tricky business too.

 

On any of my Nikon DSLRs, the Auto and 3D AF modes were mostly useless; only on the D500 and the D850 they were somewhat functional (and I assume on the D5 and D6 as well). At least with mirrorless, the calibration issue not longer exists - but having AF sensors all over the image sensor puts more pressure on the AF processor.

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I think even my Z6ii could manage that Egret against that dark, shadowy background..

Yep, not a demanding background at all. On both the D500 and D850, I would have used GRP - it's my default nowadays and it does quite well. I only switch to single point under certain circumstances. Since neither the D500 nor the D850 have on-sensor PDAF, using live view isn't an option even in the scenario shown in the video - at least I would never attempt to use it.

Interesting he was using Matrix Metering though. I tend to use centre weighted, fully manual and auto ISO and use +/- EV Exp Comp to taste.

Same here - with the exception that I use matrix only 100% of the time, center-weighted never. I used to use spot metering but it's futile. Highlight priority just tends to underexpose the image in its effort to not overexpose the highlights - useful only under a few select circumstances.

 

I'm guessing it should be possible to tell the AF to 'look' for a lock, say between 10 and 15 meters, no nearer or further.

I think Steve Perry's suggestion to first manually pre-focus into the range where the subject is/will be to make it easier for the AF to find something accomplishes that.

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