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Thread: Upgrade or Jump Ship?

  1. #1
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    Default Upgrade or Jump Ship?

    Hey all,

    I am looking to upgrade my gear and was hoping to get your advice as i am having a hard time making a decision and your input would mean a lot.

    Currently i am shooting with 7D + 100-400 (the originals), and i have never been happy with the general IQ and AF performance of them but it was just something i was unable to change. I am finally in a position to make a big purchase and since i am not heavily invested so far, and the recent shift of many photographers i am having a hard time deciding if i should jump ship or not.
    Another important note is that i am currently planning a lengthy backpacking trip to Australia. (btw if someone has local tips and is willing to share it would be more than appreciated)

    My photography is mostly wildlife, mostly large mammals over recent years but would love to get more into birds. I usually find myself on lengthy trips and can involve substantial hiking so my first priority is weight without sacrificing IQ.
    I usually try and keep the weight to a minimum for all my gear many times leaving my tripod at home.


    It seems to me that the D850 is quite superior to my needs than any other offerings but the lenses on the canon side seem to be a bit more versatile.
    it seems like it comes down to 500 PF vs 400 DO II.

    some questions:

    1) how is the AF on the D850? would it be viable at f/8 for action/bif? how would it compare to the 1Dx-I? 1Dx-II? D5?
    (i have read that many times manufactures advertise the same AF system for multiple cameras but don't back that up with sufficient computation/power to have similar performance)
    2) how is the AF and IQ of the 500 PF + 1.4 vs the 400 DO II + 2X?
    3) it the 400 DO II + 2X viable for action on a 5D IV or would it demand a 1DX body? (the weight reduction is quite appealing)
    4) Am i correct in assuming that the nikon AF advantages to maintaining focus on birds with busy background would also hold in situations such as tracking a leopard through tall savanna grass?
    5) Also i am not sure how i would replace the versatility of the 100-400 as a secondary lens on the Nikon side. The 200-500 is both too heavy (~1 kg more) and IQ also does not seem quite as good. The 80-400 also looks like is a no go in terms of IQ. maybe the 300 PF + 1.4X? I'm often traveling in harsh environments that make swapping lenses risky so there is a big plus to those high end zooms.
    6) Have i completely lost it thinking that packing a 14 mm,24-70, and a 500 mm is viable? :D



    Thanks

  2. #2
    Super Moderator arash_hazeghi's Avatar
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    Hi Gal,

    you seem to be considering a lot of different options, what is your budget?
    New! Birds in flight Photography Basics 2017
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    Default

    hey Arash,

    Fortunately, i don't have a fixed budget. Obviously i would like to get the best bang for my buck but i would rather get what i need now that be disappointed later. I have a few too many missed opportunities in the past years where the peak of action happened and i was too limited by my own gear.

    so i guess what i am saying is what would you recommend if weight and versatility were the major limiting factors?

  4. #4
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    The lenses you mention are great, but they are all too short for general bird photography and will limit you. If you are into bird photography there is no way around owning a 600mm f/4 prime lens. The lenses you mention are secondary lenses for this purpose and will not have enough reach in many cases. Both Nikon and Canon 600mm lenses can be used hand held depending on your psychical condition. For wildlife you want a zoom lens.

    Canon just came out with the lightest 600mm f/4 at the time being (MKIII) but its AF and image sensor technology are significantly behind Nikon and everybody else. If you want to shoot birds in flight I recommend Nikon system. The setup you need is both a D5 and a D850 plus the 600mm f/4 E FL and the 500mm PF, the 200-500 is a good lens for larger subjects and wildlife but not so much for birds.

    Nikon D850 and D5 are both excellent bodies, Canon don't have anything comparable with the D850. The 1DXII on paper competes with the D5 but it is held back by its AF

    I haven't used my 500 PF in the field yet but paired to my D850 it gives the same reach as my old 1DXII , 400DO II and the 2XIII. The Nikon combo easily wins due to better AF, much lighter weight and smaller form factor plus the 500 PF is 1/2 the cost of 400 DO II. As much as I loved my 400 DO II I would not pay 7K for it today given that 500mm PF sells for half as much. When shooting either stationary, slow or large subjects Canon can do the trick too but so does Nikon and with D850's 45 mega pixels you get better detail. Overall the camera and the lens you currently use doesn't have much residual value as you have probably figured, so to me you are starting fresh...

    good luck
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  5. Thanks Gal Kamar thanked for this post
  6. #5
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    Arash thanks for the info it is really helpful and spot on!

    i understand that nothing can beat the 600 f/4 and that for that kind of reach and IQ the physics demand big and heavy glass (well there is still hoping for a 600 f/4 DO or PF someday :D) its just that for my current situation even with the amazing engineering that canon has done on the 600 MK iii bringing the weight down to 3 KG it is still just too big for my purpose as its not just the weight as much as the volume of it as well. I am looking for a setup that will be able to fit in a backpack along with a tent sleeping bag food and clothing. (Also why i am looking at a setup with only 1 body)

    What you stated about having the D850 + 500 PF + 1.4X having the same reach as the 1Dxii + 400 DO II + 2X mirrors exactly what i was thinking. If my math is correct the D850 would have to be cropped by ~24 % to compensate for the extra 100 mm in optical reach to have an equivalent FOV. Leaving a 34 MP image on the D850 vs a 20 MP image on the 1Dx-ii which i would imagine gives a similar result IQ wise since the 1Dx ii larger pixels would produce a cleaner image on a pixel level.

    I know you said you haven't had a chance to use the 500 PF yet but could you maybe give me your thought on the AF performance between D850 vs 1Dx II?
    its so hard to quantify and i haven't been able to find any honest comparison between those.

    Also i still can't figure out an alternative for the 100-400 ii on the Nikon side for my purposes (weight and volume restrictions) which is the biggest thing stopping me from making a decision

    Thanks

  7. #6
    Super Moderator arash_hazeghi's Avatar
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    Hi Gal,

    It boils down to one thing, do you like to take images of challenging birds in flight or you are focused on a stationary subject. If they answer is yes you need not to bother with reach math and all that because Canon's AF is just not that great when you compare with Nikon. Weight, reach, IQ etc. is all meaningless if the camera cannot grab sharp focus on the subject at first place.

    I haven't used the Nikon 80-400 VRII (the new lens) you may want to look at that too. 1-4's are too short and not very useful for shooting birds.

    Best
    New! Birds in flight Photography Basics 2017
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  8. Thanks Gal Kamar thanked for this post
  9. #7
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    Got it thanks!

    (The 1-4 was intended for times when i go shooting mammals rather than birds)

    Anyways I really appreciate the help. Thanks again.

    ill update where i end up going for those interested.

    Thanks

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