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by hullyjr on Wed Aug 18, 2021 1:22 pm
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[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]I currently have a D500 + 500mmPF + 1.4x for my bird photography. It is without doubt the best portable set-up I have ever used (going back to film cameras/novoflex/mirror lenses in the late 70s!).[/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Ideally, I would have two cameras on major trips but having made the partial commitment to Nikon less than 2 years ago I only have the D500 - it is such a great camera. In November, I hope to visit Ethiopia photographing the birds which by all reports are tamer than elsewhere. I would hate to have my D500 develop problems on a trip of a lifetime so what can I do to mitigate that from happening?[/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Should I buy/rent another D500 or perhaps think about a mirrorless body?  The only criticisms of my current setup is the slow but accurate focusing with the 1.4x in anything but good light, the tepid VR and the "memory banks". I would like this to be a long term purchase or upgrade rather than a short-term solution. The Z7II kind of appeals more than spending money on an aging DSLR. The comparable pixel density of the Z7II means I don't lose out on going full frame plus I gain a slew of other benefits. But most importantly for me, does the Z7II focus/track as reliably as the D500? It seems that is not the case today but hopefully the Z7II will improve with software iterations? Perhaps more important is the focus speed with the 1.4x attached improved over the D500 when using focus points away from the center? Could the D850 be another option?[/font]
Jim Hully
Grayslake, IL
Images now at https://www.flickr.com/photos/138068378@N06/
 

by SantaFeJoe on Wed Aug 18, 2021 2:18 pm
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Others will probably recommend going with a mirrorless but, I really like the D850. It would work well with the 500 PF and has the option of using crop format when you need the extra reach. The images are highly croppable and the detail is great. The lenses you use with the D500 are usable with no adapter, of course. I, personally will wait to go mirrorless until the lenses I prefer are available. Meanwhile, the D850 performs admirably and lenses are available now and you can still use the TC for even more reach. For me, the only real advantage with mirrorless is the silent shutter, but it seldom would benefit me since I usually work with animals that are used to seeing people and don’t spook easily.

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by calvin1calvin on Wed Aug 18, 2021 4:02 pm
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If you prefer not to purchase another DSLR, like the d850 like Joe says, rent a camera body for your trip and be sure to purchase the insurance in the event something happens to it.
 

by ADKShooter on Wed Aug 18, 2021 4:34 pm
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Hi Jim,
I'm probably not the person to comment on the totality of your question except I own the D850 and two of my best friends own the D500. Much like SantaFeJoe I'm in no rush to switch to mirrorless only because I'm not in a position at my age to switch systems. If I was, I'd probably be taking a serious look at the SONY system. Since I'll be sticking with Nikon for the foreseeable future I am willing to wait for quite a while until I think they have an excellent mirrorless camera and enough diversity of lenses made specifically for the mirrorless system that cover my needs.
In the meantime I've been thrilled with the D850 and actually have been planning to purchase a second one since I have a lot of activations on my current one. My friends have been very satisfied with their D500's as it sounds like you are as well. I think if I was in your position and taking the trip of a lifetime I would simply purchase, or rent, the same camera you have now if for no other reason than your familiarity with it in the short term while on your trip. Subsequent to your return you can reassess where you want to go with a system going forward. Just my $.02.
 

by Dan Kearl on Wed Aug 18, 2021 9:46 pm
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I have 2- D500 bodies and a D850. I also have the 500pf and the Nikon 300mm f2.8 so I have been in no hurry to switch to another brand.
If you are not taking landscape lens, then I would just get another D500. I only use the D850 for landscape and other stuff like Astro.
If you are just taking tele photos of bird and wildlife, use the D500 and have another as backup if you need it.
D850 will not improve the autofocus with the D500 and 1.4, it is only fine for perched subjects mainly, poor BIF focus, and the D500 just as good with the combo.
 

by SantaFeJoe on Thu Aug 19, 2021 3:24 pm
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Here’s an article from Thom:

https://dslrbodies.com/newsviews-2/where-are-the-dslrs-going.html

Read the last section titled “So what’s the good news for DSLR owners”. It may be of interest to you.

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by photoman4343 on Fri Aug 20, 2021 8:09 am
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I am still all Nikon DSLRs. My main two bodies are the D500 and D850. I love that the cameras are almost duplicates of each other from a setup and buttons standpoint. I got the D500 first and then upgraded my D810 to D850. My 500mm f5.6 pf is on the D500 most of the time. Other lenses on the D850. I love the images from the D850 vs the D810.
Joe Smith
 

by Andrew_5488 on Fri Aug 20, 2021 10:03 am
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hullyjr wrote:
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Ideally, I would have two cameras on major trips but having made the partial commitment to Nikon less than 2 years ago I only have the D500 - it is such a great camera. In November, I hope to visit Ethiopia photographing the birds which by all reports are tamer than elsewhere. I would hate to have my D500 develop problems on a trip of a lifetime so what can I do to mitigate that from happening?[/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Should I buy/rent another D500 or perhaps think about a mirrorless body?  The only criticisms of my current setup is the slow but accurate focusing with the 1.4x in anything but good light, the tepid VR and the "memory banks". I would like this to be a long term purchase or upgrade rather than a short-term solution. The Z7II kind of appeals more than spending money on an aging DSLR. The comparable pixel density of the Z7II means I don't lose out on going full frame plus I gain a slew of other benefits. But most importantly for me, does the Z7II focus/track as reliably as the D500? It seems that is not the case today but hopefully the Z7II will improve with software iterations? Perhaps more important is the focus speed with the 1.4x attached improved over the D500 when using focus points away from the center? Could the D850 be another option?[/font]


Definitely you should have backup camera. If you're thinking long term and budget is there I don't see any logic in buying DSLR.
Mirrorless is the future whether you like it or not. I don't have experience with Nikon  since when I sold D850 I bought Sony A7R4 because that's what was available at the time and I don't regret it. I Still used D500 and D4s occasionally. I heard somewhere that z7 II is not bad where it comes to AF. You can always rent it and use your 500PF with adapter or you can rent Sony (a92,a74,a1) with 200-600mm and 1.4 TC which is very good and that way you have prime and zoom which you can quickly switch which is always good thing when it comes to photographing birds.
 

by SantaFeJoe on Fri Aug 20, 2021 10:39 am
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Andrew_5488 wrote:
.....If you're thinking long term and budget is there I don't see any logic in buying DSLR.
Mirrorless is the future whether you like it or not. .........You can always rent it and use your 500PF with adapter........

As you say, mirrorless is the future, but in the present, Nikon is not prime time ready. An adapter is a weak link and that’s especially true when using a TC. The lenses are just not available yet to go with Nikon MIL’s. Sony is another story.

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by E.J. Peiker on Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:15 pm
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One word: RENT
Rent another D500 that way you can simply copy the settings from your camera to a SD or XQD card and transfer them over and the two cameras will function identically.
 

by hullyjr on Sat Aug 21, 2021 9:28 am
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I came to the same conclusion, rent a D500 for the trip. Price is reasonable including insurance. And thanks EJ for the idea of transferring settings by car.
Jim Hully
Grayslake, IL
Images now at https://www.flickr.com/photos/138068378@N06/
 

by ricardo00 on Sun Aug 22, 2021 5:05 pm
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hullyjr wrote:
Thanks for all the suggestions. I came to the same conclusion, rent a D500 for the trip. Price is reasonable including insurance. And thanks EJ for the idea of transferring settings by car.



  At this rate, is your trip to Ethiopia still on for Nov. 2021?  (I had a prior Ethiopia trip that our guide recommended cancelling due to the unrest there and that was pre-COVID).
 

by hullyjr on Mon Aug 23, 2021 11:16 am
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Location: Grayslake, IL, USA
ricardo00 wrote:
hullyjr wrote:
Thanks for all the suggestions. I came to the same conclusion, rent a D500 for the trip. Price is reasonable including insurance. And thanks EJ for the idea of transferring settings by car.



  At this rate, is your trip to Ethiopia still on for Nov. 2021?  (I had a prior Ethiopia trip that our guide recommended cancelling due to the unrest there and that was pre-COVID).

At the moment, yes. The trip is with Birdquest, I've been with them before and trust their judgement.
Jim Hully
Grayslake, IL
Images now at https://www.flickr.com/photos/138068378@N06/
 

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