D800 to D7500/D500 for birds

WozzaB

Well-known Member
I've been using a D800 for a few years now, I originally got it as a multipurpose camera, wildlife, landscape, streets etc.
I now find myself pretty much only doing wildlife shots, mainly birds. I use a Sigma 150-600mm C with the D800, I have been doing a bit of reading and I might be better with a DX body as I tend to crop in a lot with the FX body as the subjects are usually a fair distance away.
I was looking at the D7200, then the D7500 was mentioned when reading reviews and then obviously the D500 then popped into the conversations.
They all seem to be a better option for birds than the D800, faster FPS for action, better AF on the D7500 & D500 from what I gather, plus a few more benefits.

Anyone got any advice on this, I can't really see a downside apart from losing the FX sensor and higher MP?
 

Field Marshall Eccles

Active Member
Being FF the D800 will give a better image quality than the D7500 and the D500 but yes the crop factor of 1.5x for the same lens on the DX sensor compared to the FX sensor means the field of view is magnified.

If you haven't already you can compare them all at the site below.

This article compares DX vs FX which may be of interest.
 
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johnaalex

Distinguished Member
What about using 1.4 TC with the lens?
 
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goingoingong

Distinguished Member
I've been using a D800 for a few years now, I originally got it as a multipurpose camera, wildlife, landscape, streets etc.
I now find myself pretty much only doing wildlife shots, mainly birds. I use a Sigma 150-600mm C with the D800, I have been doing a bit of reading and I might be better with a DX body as I tend to crop in a lot with the FX body as the subjects are usually a fair distance away.
I was looking at the D7200, then the D7500 was mentioned when reading reviews and then obviously the D500 then popped into the conversations.
They all seem to be a better option for birds than the D800, faster FPS for action, better AF on the D7500 & D500 from what I gather, plus a few more benefits.

Anyone got any advice on this, I can't really see a downside apart from losing the FX sensor and higher MP?
Not a nikon user but I do have the sigma (albeit in Canon).

Slow lens (f6.3 or ideally f8 on the zoom far end) and high shutter speeds can combine to require high ISO. Which, with an APS-C sensor, might result in a lot of picture noise in typical UK weather and lighting conditions.

Coming from a clean D800 which has between 2.5 and 3 dB less noise from the DXO tests than the D7500 (even more for the D7200) may be a bit of a disappointment if you're not used to APS-C noise. Check the SNR measurements here.
Nikon D7500 vs Nikon D800 vs

Nikon D800 vs Nikon D7200 vs

So other things being equal the APS-C camera choice may be to get the one with best SNR results. Oddly the older cheaper D7200 is claimed to overall beat the newer and more expensive D7500 and D500 in DXO tests. The D7500 is however tested as the best of the three for higher ISOs (although there is not really a lot between them compared to the big difference between FF and APS-C).
Nikon D7500 vs Nikon D500 vs Nikon D7200

Would the new camera be an add-on to your current D800 or a replacement?
How do you feel about mirrorless as a possible new body?
 
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goingoingong

Distinguished Member
What about using 1.4 TC with the lens?
Yes, a much cheaper option to get the extra reach but does bring with it the need for higher ISO. A fraction of the cost of a new D500 or D7500 with the same benefit of longer reach.

I've just got a Sigma TC-1401 for my Canon mount sigma 150-600mm and the results for 600mm so far seem to show F11 with the TC is about equal to F8 without. The F9 was a bit mushy compared to the lens on its own at F6.3. Autofocus speed was about the same with both TC and non TC on my Canon EOS R.
 
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johnaalex

Distinguished Member
I know you lose a stop in speed, but the ISO capabilities of the D800 should be able to compensate for that.
 
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WozzaB

Well-known Member
Thanks for the input guys.
I have the 1.4x converter, but never really 100% happy with the results, but I might just revisit that option again as my technique is pretty solid now and it could have been partly user error with the TC added previously.
 
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WozzaB

Well-known Member
Not a nikon user but I do have the sigma (albeit in Canon).

Slow lens (f6.3 or ideally f8 on the zoom far end) and high shutter speeds can combine to require high ISO. Which, with an APS-C sensor, might result in a lot of picture noise in typical UK weather and lighting conditions.

Coming from a clean D800 which has between 2.5 and 3 dB less noise from the DXO tests than the D7500 (even more for the D7200) may be a bit of a disappointment if you're not used to APS-C noise. Check the SNR measurements here.
Nikon D7500 vs Nikon D800 vs

Nikon D800 vs Nikon D7200 vs

So other things being equal the APS-C camera choice may be to get the one with best SNR results. Oddly the older cheaper D7200 is claimed to overall beat the newer and more expensive D7500 and D500 in DXO tests. The D7500 is however tested as the best of the three for higher ISOs (although there is not really a lot between them compared to the big difference between FF and APS-C).
Nikon D7500 vs Nikon D500 vs Nikon D7200

Would the new camera be an add-on to your current D800 or a replacement?
How do you feel about mirrorless as a possible new body?
The new camera will initially go alongside the D800 while I do some testing, with the idea of selling the D800 if whatever I buy does a great job with wildlife. But it might make sense to keep the D800 for low light stuff?

I haven't really looked into mirrorless much, but it seems the Z6 would be similar cost to the D500 if buying both used. I'll have a better look at the mirrorless options now though.
 
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goingoingong

Distinguished Member
The new camera will initially go alongside the D800 while I do some testing, with the idea of selling the D800 if whatever I buy does a great job with wildlife. But it might make sense to keep the D800 for low light stuff?

I haven't really looked into mirrorless much, but it seems the Z6 would be similar cost to the D500 if buying both used. I'll have a better look at the mirrorless options now though.
The APS-C Z50 is cheapish at <£700 for a new body and might be worth a look at reviews to see if it could do the job (it's a step down from the D7500). The 20mp sensor is a new version of the one used in the D500 and D7500. What’s new? Well, for one thing it has phase detect pixels set on every 12th row (ala the Z6/Z7).
Obviously you'd need to check into how well the sigma works with the nikon FTZ lens adapter.

Mirrorless benefits might be
  • More accurate focus as the sigma would be focused from the sensor and so not be likely to be affected by a need for MFA to nail focus.
  • Animal eye AF on the Z50, Z6 and Z7 (doesn't seem to work on birds though at the moment).
  • Having a magnified viewfinder easily available does wonders for manual focus over ride.
  • the loss of one stop with a TC to F9 don't present any problems as the mirrorless viewfinder can gain up to give a bright view vs the dim view through an optical viewfinder.
If planning on getting rid of the D800 I'd personally go for the Z7 as the one to fully match D800 and go beyond it with newer features. Possibly Z50 or Z5 or Z6 if keeping the D800.

Nikon Z50 / Z6, 300mm f4 PF and TC – A compact set-up for birds in flight – Mirrorless Comparison

The Best Mirrorless Cameras for Birds in Flight Ranked – Mirrorless Comparison

best mirrorless cameras for wildlife and bird photography

Z50 for birding?
 
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WozzaB

Well-known Member
Well I decided the only way to see whether or not the D500 is for me is to buy one! Got a used one on it's way, fairly low shutter count etc.
I'll report back when I've had a good play with it.
 
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WozzaB

Well-known Member
The D500 arrived today, only had a brief bit of time with it.

I'm used to the D800 and the D500 is a bit smaller, but the grip is a good size for a DX body and feels nice, one tick.
The first thing I noticed was the FPS!! Blimey this thing rips through the shots compared to the D800!! 😄 10fps compared to 4fps so no comparison really. So another tick.
I've only taken a few indoor images so far, text on items, things with varied colours etc, but so far I can't say I'm missing the extra pixels of the D800 when cropped in 100%. Another tick.

So nothing negative to say so far, but this wasn't a proper test though, just a few handheld shots with a decent shutter speed.

The next test will be to chuck the 150-600mm on it and go for a stroll and hopefully find some wildlife, I'll report back!
 
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johnaalex

Distinguished Member
The D500 arrived today, only had a brief bit of time with it.

I'm used to the D800 and the D500 is a bit smaller, but the grip is a good size for a DX body and feels nice, one tick.
The first thing I noticed was the FPS!! Blimey this thing rips through the shots compared to the D800!! 😄 10fps compared to 4fps so no comparison really. So another tick.
I've only taken a few indoor images so far, text on items, things with varied colours etc, but so far I can't say I'm missing the extra pixels of the D800 when cropped in 100%. Another tick.

So nothing negative to say so far, but this wasn't a proper test though, just a few handheld shots with a decent shutter speed.

The next test will be to chuck the 150-600mm on it and go for a stroll and hopefully find some wildlife, I'll report back!
One test I would like to know the result of would be the comparison of a shot from each camera of an item with the shot from the D800 being cropped to the same size as the one from the D500.
 
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WozzaB

Well-known Member
One test I would like to know the result of would be the comparison of a shot from each camera of an item with the shot from the D800 being cropped to the same size as the one from the D500.
That's on my list, that was one of the things that I was looking at, whether a cropped D800 image will be better/worse than a shot straight from the D500.
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
That's on my list, that was one of the things that I was looking at, whether a cropped D800 image will be better/worse than a shot straight from the D500.
I'm thinking about getting the D500 as a replacement for my D300. Sticking with DX because of a good lens collections. What's your thoughts on the D500 now you've had a month.
 
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WozzaB

Well-known Member
I'm thinking about getting the D500 as a replacement for my D300. Sticking with DX because of a good lens collections. What's your thoughts on the D500 now you've had a month.
I had to send it back for a refund as it had an issue, I've found another one though, I've had it about 2 weeks.
I can only compare the D500 to the D800 I had before, first obvious difference is the 10fps compared to 4fps on the old one, which is what I was after for birds in flight.
I am still getting used to the way the D500 meters, it seems to do things a little different to the D800, it tries to protect highlights more than the old camera as far as I can tell, so I've had to use the exposure compensation a bit more than I used to.
The D500 does have more customisable buttons, which it useful, I have it set to group AF and matrix metering, so I have the AF-ON button for AF, the joystick push in for single point AF and the PV button for spot metering, but I may change that about a bit after I do some more testing.

I still need to dial the lens in I think, not getting super sharp images yet, I just haven't had the time to check if it's front or back focusing etc, that's next on the list when I have an hour or so free.

So not a lot to report yet I'm afraid.
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
So not a lot to report yet I'm afraid.
Thanks for you time. I'll be using it for landscapes, I'm a crap wildlife photographer things have to stand still for me, favourite lens is the Nikon 12-24 which I'm sure you'll love for birds.
 
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goingoingong

Distinguished Member
Thanks for you time. I'll be using it for landscapes, I'm a crap wildlife photographer things have to stand still for me, favourite lens is the Nikon 12-24 which I'm sure you'll love for birds.
If using it mainly for landscapes the D500 seems well over spec'd as you'll have no need for the high frame rate and AF tracking capabilities, or is there something else I'm missing? There are far cheaper Nikon models available equally or better suited to landscape. The D7500 and the mirrorless Z50 both use a D500 (varient) sensor too.
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
If using it mainly for landscapes the D500 seems well over spec'd as you'll have no need for the high frame rate and AF tracking capabilities, or is there something else I'm missing? There are far cheaper Nikon models available equally or better suited to landscape. The D7500 and the mirrorless Z50 both use a D500 (varient) sensor too.
Been looking at the D7500 as well but the Z50 doesn't take my current DX lenses although I could buy an adaptor. Found a new D500 for £1159. Pointless trying to part exchange my old D300 as it's worth next to nothing looking at flea bay. Wife wants me to go and get a new camera even though I've not picked the D300 up for about two years now. Decisions decisions.:facepalm:

Perhaps I would be better off spending a grand on a new sub.
 
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goingoingong

Distinguished Member
Been looking at the D7500 as well but the Z50 doesn't take my current DX lenses although I could buy an adaptor. Found a new D500 for £1159. Pointless trying to part exchange my old D300 as it's worth next to nothing looking at flea bay. Wife wants me to go and get a new camera even though I've not picked the D300 up for about two years now. Decisions decisions.:facepalm:

Perhaps I would be better off spending a grand on a new sub.
I'm seeing completed D300 on ebay for around £125, even for spares it's worth £40-£50

Z50 + FTZ adaptor is £809 (Park, Wex) vs D7500 £899 (Park, Wex). May still be worth trying both of them (plus other usual suspects) for trade in price of your D300 as they may give you more for a sale of something else from them.

The £250 - £350+ saving from a cheaper body over a D500 can go towards a new sub....:smashin:
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
I've gone and bought myself a D500. Let you know how I get on........or not!
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
It will be interesting to hear what you think!
Only managed to take it out once and shot off a few Jpegs. Will more than likely go back to RAW, time permitting. Odd that I should be buy a camera that's been lauded for it's high speed abilities and I'm never happier when I shooting at under one second. Reading the reviews of both the D500 and D7500 it was the 500's abilities with low light photography that really made my decision easier.

One thing I have learned is that my current walking about lens isn't really recommended for long exposures with the 500. Unfortunately there is a serious lack of availability of new lenses on the market. Would like one with VR and have been looking at the 16-80 range of zooms. Tracked down a new DX f/2.8 Nikkor and I'm currently looking at reviews. I currently have an 18-200 VR DX f/3.5 but really do not need the extra reach as I have that covered with a tele but it's rarely used.
 
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[email protected]

Active Member
Great Camera the D500 i has 1 for 2 years, great for my sports, i did have an issue though i kept getting the dreaded ERR message on the top, eventually retuned it and Nikon replaced the shutter plate.. Weirdly my friend who had an 850 had same issue... But good choice for a DSLR for birding...
 
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snerkler

Member
Great Camera the D500 i has 1 for 2 years, great for my sports, i did have an issue though i kept getting the dreaded ERR message on the top, eventually retuned it and Nikon replaced the shutter plate.. Weirdly my friend who had an 850 had same issue... But good choice for a DSLR for birding...
Err message due to shutter issues is an Achilles heel for Nikon on what are otherwise stunning cameras.

I missed this thread first time around and wondered if anyone considered the D850 instead of the D500 as it’s a FF camera that more or less turns into the D500 when using DX mode, especially if you use the grip to give 9fps?
 
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