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by JAL on Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:51 pm
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A friend of mine who hasn’t done much photography in the last few years is getting back into it.  He is a retired teacher and naturalist.  He does a lot of traveling internationally and is mostly, but not solely, interested in mammals.  He prefers the flexibility of a zoom.  He doesn’t use a tripod. If he was a Canon shooter, the 100 – 400mm IS II (3.5lbs), maybe with a 7D2 or 80D, would be a good fit. But he has used Nikon is the past and prefers that. Naturally, I don’t really know anything about Nikon gear.  So I’m looking for opinions and advice from people here.
 
The AF-S Nikkor 80 – 400mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR lens (3.45 lbs) seems to be the Nikon equivalent of the Canon 100-400.  The AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f5.6E ED VR lens (4.6lbs) is about a pound heavier and $900 cheaper.  If he isn’t shooting often in low light situations does the 200 – 500 make more sense? Does anyone have an opinion on either of these? 
 
If he doesn’t have a big investment in Nikon lenses, is the Sony FE 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens (3.07lbs) reasonable to consider?  If it is, which camera would you recommend to use with it?

If I'm missing some other good option, please let me know.  Thanks for any advice you can give.
 
JAL
 

by Mike in O on Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:32 pm
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If he travels a lot, I don't think you can go wrong with the Sony 6500 with 100/400. The Nikkor 80/400 is not equal (especially for the money) to either the Sony 70/400 in A mount, 100/400 in E mount, or the Canon 100/400. The Nikon 200/500 is a great lens for the money. Full Frame or crop is the decision. Also, remember there is the Sigma and Tamron long lenses.
 

by Phil Shaw on Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:16 am
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I've just returned from 3wks in Botswana. I took the Sony A9 + Sony 100-400 GM + Sony 1.4x to test it (sold my Canon 1Dx and Canon 100-400 mk2). As I've said in another thread, once you learn how the camera works, this is the best combination for wildlife and action that I have ever used. I also have the Sony 6500 - this camera requires too much fiddling around the menus to be a good camera for action. The A9 is in a different league and for shooting birds-in-flight, it is just phenomenal. I was shooting bursts of 70-90 shots of Skimmers and Fish Eagles at 12-frames per second with the bird in focus in every shot. In comparison, with my 5Dmk4 at 7-frames per second, at least half of the shots were not sharply focused. The Sony 1.4x causes some vignetting at the long end of the zoom, but that is easy to correct in post, otherwise I noticed no impact on performance or other aspects of image quality.
 

by david fletcher on Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:53 am
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Just FYI Jal

No mention of cost and likely expenditure, but somewhere budget will come in as well as Brand preferences:

Sony A9:           $4,498.   100-400 GM OSS   $2,498.   Total.  $6,996

Canon 7DII       $1,897.    100-400 II L           $2,049     Total.  $3,946

Nikon D500.    $1,897.      200-500                $1,397.    Total.   $3,294
Nikon D810     $2,797.      200-500                $1,397.    Total.   $4,194
Nikon D850     $3,297       200-500                $1,397     Total.   $4,694

Re the Nikon options, I personally opted for the Sigma  150-600 OS Sport, but hey, the internet is showing many fine shots from the 200-500 nikkor so have used that.  

Were I just starting out, a couple of thoughts.

Sony A9.  20 fps...wow... more forgiving on technique as will be the Canon and D500 offering, re the number of pixels..   Do I need 20 FPS.  Na!  Flipping expensive too.  Long glass options limited.
Canon options.  Not qualified to comment as do not own now but Phil mentioned as above, probably needs heeding.
Nikon.   DX with the D500 is just awesome.  Top notch focussing with a buffer that is plain ridiculous.  
Nikon.   wanting more pixel options the D810 will crack that...
Nikon.  wanting what is probably the best all round camera today being the D850:  (I do not drink Heinekin)...  and save $2,300 over a Sony A9 kit.
Make your life spectacular!
 

by JAL on Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:28 pm
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Thanks for the responses.  Very helpful.

It seems unlikely that he will want to spend $4000+ on the Sony A9. I don’t think BIF are a priority for him.  The Sigma 150 – 600mm sport weighs 6.3 lbs.  That seems a bit heavy for his uses.

So I’m thinking my recommendation should be:

Sony 6500 + Sony 100 – 400mm (4.1lbs)  $1400 + $2500 = $3900
Sony 6300 + Sony 100 – 400mm (4 lbs) for a cheaper option $900 + $2500 = $3400
OR
Nikon D500  + Nikkor 200 – 500 VR (6.5 lbs) $1900 + $1400 = $3300
Nikon D500  + Nikkor 80 – 400 (5.3 lbs) for a lighter option but maybe not a good value  $1900 + $2300 = $4200

Reasonable? Comments?

JAL
 

by Karl Egressy on Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:23 am
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If he considers Canon at all 7D Mark II is an excellent camera.
Moreover the Canon 100-400 f 4.5-5.6 L IS Mark II is the best in its range according to testing sites and some very serious professional photographers including Nikon shooters.
Weight: 5.5 LBS
Price at B&H: $ 4400.
I have a friend who had the D500 and 200-500 lens and found it heavy and bulky but good image quality.
Switched over to Canon 80D and Canon 100-400 Mark II and he is happy now with the image quality, bulk and weight.
 

by lelouarn on Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:27 am
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Sacrificing a bit of reach, a Sony 6300 and their 70-300 would be a lightweight and cheap(er) combo. For traveling, weight is, in my opinion a big issue. As for the 6300 vs 6500, I am a bit unclear what the newer body brings, esp if you're not into video.
 

by Neilyb on Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:23 am
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If going the Nikon or Canon route one might consider the Sigma 100-400 too? It is after all 800$ new. On a crop camera body that is a pretty good range. Reviews seem to be favorable, not up to the Canon equivalent but pretty close.
 

by Karl Egressy on Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:14 pm
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Neilyb wrote:
If going the Nikon or Canon route one might consider the Sigma 100-400 too? It is after all 800$ new. On a crop camera body that is a pretty good range. Reviews seem to be favorable, not up to the Canon equivalent but pretty close.

I had the opportunity to try the 100-400 Sigma contemporary lens on a 80D and a 7D Mark II.
Then a compared it to my 100-400 Canon f 4.5-5.6 L IS II. lens on both cameras.
Image stabilization is not very good.
Image quality in terms of resolution and color rendition are not as good as Canon's.
Sure, it is light but that's about it.
Wait until they come out with the SPORT version of it.
 

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