Three Months With the Nikon Z 6II, Half Two of Three: Chasing Birds and Wildlife


Currently, we soar into share two of my three-share sequence on my expertise taking pictures for the earlier three months with the distinctive Nikon Z 6II mirrorless digicam. In share one, we went over ergonomics and first impressions, whereas on this day’s episode, we will choose the digicam out into the sector to give attention to with the vegetation and fauna.

When you occur to might effectively moreover very efficiently be as much as this degree in your mid-2000s comedy references, you’re going to, at some degree, luxuriate in possible heard the little bit of account knowledge: “When you occur to can dodge a wrench, you might dodge a ball.” This turned into, for sure, proclaimed unironically by the coach of a dodgeball staff who then proceeded to heave one among the many metallic implements at an unsuspecting participant. That’s roughly how I in truth really feel about hen pictures. In case your autofocus can maintain with birds in flight, it will doubtlessly maintain with vibrant important anything. In precise truth, whereas as I acknowledged within the first share of this sequence I’m little question now not a authentic vegetation and fauna photographer, one among the many foremost causes I picked it up as a passion turned into attributable to I came upon it to be mountainous apply for me in phrases of autofocus. In my authentic existence, I {photograph} promoting and advertising and marketing campaigns usually that accommodates with out phrase shiny athletes. Trying to protect an inconsistently darting hen within the physique and in focal degree makes my real job appear easy by comparability. We’re able to pick out the Z 6II onto a authentic assign aside subsequent week to stare the draw during which it retains up with an athlete for the interval of a business shoot. Nevertheless, for this week’s article, we’ll possible be seeing whether or not or now not or now not it will dodge a wrench.

Day One: Birds in Flight and Testing Diverse AF Modes

Currently, I’ll give attention to three eventualities. The assign aside did I succeed? When turned into I a lot much less successful? And what did I be taught? First up, I headed out to a local vegetation and fauna reserve right here in Southern California. It’s a assign aside I dawdle as important to sit again as to shoot, however it’s at all times fastidiously patrolled by microscopic battalions of winged creatures zipping round overhead. Once more, I’m now not a authentic vegetation and fauna photographer, so I wasn’t in truth looking out for portfolio photographs. As an totally different, my plot turned into to cycle by the a mountainous assortment of selections the Nikon Z 6II has for autofocus to stare which turned into most tantalizing and whether or not or now not the digicam might effectively maintain. I began off in Auto-condo AF. Nevertheless, I moreover shifted into dynamic-condo AF, single degree, and huge-condo AF each so incessantly. Furthermore, I tried animal peep detection every on and off. Nikon’s animal peep detection is meant for family pets, however I turned into extraordinary to stare if it may well effectively help me safe the eyes of a hen in flight tack fascinating.

A pair of points had been straight obvious. One, as you might effectively quiz, the smaller the hen turned into within the physique, the harder time the digicam in Auto-condo AF had of figuring out it because the foremost topic and precisely monitoring focal degree. I came upon this to be specifically advanced when taking pictures one apartment of the protect that’s surrounded by luxurious properties within the distant background. Whereas the properties are a bit away, the digicam did as soon as shortly ignore the hen within the foreground in want of what it felt had been extra tantalizing properties within the background. I didn’t luxuriate in a mountainous deal of kindly fortune using the monitoring subject in Auto-condo AF on the birds. They had been lawful too prompt for me to lock onto. Nevertheless, I repeat, I shoot birds for enjoyable, now not professionally, so a proper vegetation and fauna shooter might effectively want a greater chance with that individual particular person model for the subject. As for me, I spent extra of my time experimenting with the alternative selections.  

Subsequent, I tried the dynamic-condo AF mode. That’s usually the mode I want after I shoot with my D850, so I desired to stare how the Z 6II would evaluate in phrases of tempo when using the equal autofocus mode. It labored comparatively efficiently. Although I’ll inform that taking pictures in dynamic-AF on my D850 felt a wee bit sooner versus taking pictures the equal model on the Z 6II.  That won’t be any longer a scientific process, and it may well effectively moreover merely be attributable to I am so at chance of taking pictures with the alternative digicam, however it felt that method for the interval of my preliminary try. As a minimal in my preliminary try. Further on that later. I moreover haven’t, as of but, realized easy packages to shift from dynamic apartment 9 to 25 to 72 to 153 as you might effectively on a DSLR or if the type of alternate is even that you just simply might effectively be think about. So, whereas you occur to can, and it’s one factor I’m missing, please halt let me know within the feedback.  

Maybe attributable to I’m so at chance of taking pictures with the optical viewfinder of a DSLR and luxuriate in now not but completely gotten at chance of the bouncing containers of digital viewfinders, I wasn’t 100% assured whereas within the technique of taking pictures that I turned into in truth nailing my focal degree. I spent a natty share of the drive dwelling on that first day comparatively satisfied that I hadn’t been able to maintain in the least. Nevertheless after I lastly received dwelling and turned into able to stare on the recordsdata in Take dangle of One, I spotted that my hit price turned into in truth tremendously better than I believed it turned into, vibrant darn real, to be real, with a terribly extreme hit price when compared with earlier journeys to the equal area. As I mentioned, it may well effectively want lawful been me adjusting to using the EVF on the Z 6II versus the optical viewfinder on the D850, however I little question turned into now not anticipating the implications to be as real as they had been. Not disagreeable for my first try. 

Day Two: Birds That Don’t Love To Fly and Video Effectivity

My 2nd try to {photograph} birds turned into a quite extra mixed obtain. Don’t safe me notorious. I composed had a extreme hit price. Nevertheless this time, I did encounter a negate I had uncover about in earlier experiences of the machine, however as much as that degree, hadn’t handled. What made the negate draw extra vexing turned into that it occurred in what should had been a much a lot much less disturbing negate. Whereas my first encounter with birds took assign aside with them zipping round aimlessly overhead, shortly ahead of Modern Years’, filled with trip cheer and a bit too important turkey, I took a leisurely stroll across the LA Arboretum to soak up some landscapes. The grounds are affected by each type of birds, however each one amongst these birds would quite lunge than flee. This should originate them comparatively easy targets, as a variety of the birds are so at chance of of us who they are going to actually sit down down so that you can choose out a picture.

Once more, the implications had been promising. Alternating between Auto-condo AF and dynamic-condo AF, the photographs had been reeling off crisp and prompt. Upon stepping into an open subject the assign aside there have been natty gaggles of birds strutting across the property as within the event that they had been going to sq. off like The Jets and The Sharks, I took kindly factor referring to the Z 6II’s easy video capabilities. With the flip of a swap, I entered stream mode lawful in time to want a posse of feathered guests streaking throughout the physique “Reservoir Canines” trend. The entire-time AF mode labored terrifically, selecting up each hen because it handed by. Considered one among many points I like most about every this iteration and the real Z cameras is how hasty one can soar between stills and stream with out skipping a beat.

In precise truth, ahead of ending this account, I have to doubtlessly pop in right here for a second to debate the Z 6II’s video efficiency. As I’ve talked about, the intention I owned the real Z 6 turned into largely as a video companion to my D850. The real Z 6 supplies kindly video capabilities and that has solely persevered with the Z 6II. The autofocus is nice. And the Z lenses are prompt, restful, and don’t level out any indicators of the extent of curiosity respiratory prevalent in F-mount glass. Regardless of having a bevy of extra expensive cameras to want from for video initiatives, I luxuriate in, on multiple event, chosen to shoot authentic initiatives with the Z 6 or Z 6II merely for the invent negate and kindly efficiency. They originate for a great video totally different. Significantly for a Nikon stills photographer needing to moreover present video and looking every property to protect the equal visible in truth really feel.

There’s one mountainous limitation which I’d prefer to stare Nikon handle with future updates. Significantly, the digicam’s bit price. It is every tops of the road and limiting on the equal time. By permitting you to shoot 10-bit and even ProRes RAW or Blackmagic RAW by using an exterior recorder, Nikon has given us a machine that may in truth interact efficiently with a one of many high authentic video workflow. Nevertheless, the primary share of that description is that this stuff are solely obtainable when tethered to an exterior recorder identical to the Atmos Ninja V. Internally, the digicam solely delivers 8-bit recording. Don’t safe me notorious, for vlogging, quick video clips, and a variety of different stuff the 8-bit is mountainous. Nevertheless having achieved a set of facet-by-facet assessments, a minimal of in my luxuriate in process, the 10-bit and 12-bit every bellow a considerably higher finish end result. Once more, that’s my process. Nevertheless it certainly draw that at any time after I luxuriate in to shoot a video in earnest with the Z 6II, I tend to attach my Atmos. It really works. Nevertheless, remembering that one among the many foremost benefits of mirrorless strategies is the microscopic invent negate, whereas you mount a video present you dissipate important of that revenue. Mixed with the Atmos, the rig consists technically smaller than my Canon C200 cinema digicam, as an example. Nevertheless now not that important smaller pondering that the C200 and even one of many well-known essential competing mirrorless strategies imply you might shoot 10- or 12-bit uncooked video internally, eradicating the luxuriate in to attach an exterior video present. When you occur to might effectively moreover very efficiently be working with a natty crew on the following assign aside, this dimension distinction is negligible. When you occur to’re working solo trying to navigate lawful how important stuff might effectively moreover be bodily stuffed inside a backpack, this can possible presumably be a minor kindly quandary. Not a mountainous negate, however 10-bit inside might effectively be on my wishlist for future units.  

Now, again to the arboretum. As I began strolling off of the sector, I discovered one different solo hen. He had apparently lawful damaged up alongside along with his girl good friend and desired to make use of the afternoon off within the nook sulking. Nevertheless he had such mountainous feather element that I could not go away him alone. I kneeled down, framed him up, pressed down on the AF button, and, then, wait, what? In should specializing within the stationary hen a real social distance of six toes away, the extent of curiosity jumped straight to the background. The background, a reasonably routine treeline, wasn’t all that tantalizing, however, for regardless of intention, the digicam locked onto it and wouldn’t let dawdle. I tried focusing in different areas then coming again to the hen so it may well effectively try once more. Nevertheless, at any time when it may well effectively ignore the natty hen within the physique for the background. I tried altering between the tailor-made glass and a local Z mount lens however received the equal finish end result. Even swapping focal degree modes didn’t seem to originate a distinction. Maybe it turned into attributable to the colour process of the hen and the background is comparable, however the autofocus lawful did now not luxuriate in to acknowledge the hen’s presence. Shy I turned into going to lose the shot if I began digging by menus, I hasty refocused manually, however couldn’t fairly set up out why it turned into struggling so important with a comparatively easy seeming scene, specifically because it had been doing so efficiently as much as that degree.

I moved onto the following area within the park and turned into hasty met with a an similar negate. I stammer the digicam turned into lawful in a temper on the extent. I noticed a single fraction of fruit hanging down from the tree in an tantalizing method. In precise truth, it wasn’t all that tantalizing as I came upon later when taking a stare on the picture. Nevertheless searching for to try out the bokeh of my lens, I pointed the digicam on the fruit, all by it’s lonesome within the foreground, and pressed down on the AF button. Once more, it stored all of the items in focal degree quite then the leaf I turned into pointing at. No mountainous deal, I believed. I’m doubtlessly within the notorious focal degree mode. Nevertheless even going real right down to single degree autofocus and inserting it with out lengthen on the meaty share of the fruit within the foreground didn’t seem to work. The digicam merely refused to focal degree on it, forcing me once more to manually focal degree. Each negate scenes had clearly identifiable topic issues, however there turned into now not a mountainous deal of coloration distinction between the subject and the background. So, in all chance that makes it extra advanced for the digicam’s autofocus machine? 

Don’t ache, I gained’t provide you with any extra ignored autofocus tales from my day on the arboretum. Primarily, I gained’t provide you with any extra such tales attributable to those had been the one two tales like that from the entire day. The remaining of the time, the autofocus labored completely. It turned into so real the the comfort of the time that one might effectively even shock if these two hiccups had been worth stating. Nevertheless, as I’ll safe to subsequent week after I give attention to eventually taking the digicam onto the assign aside to shoot some promoting and advertising and marketing photographs in a genuine-world negate, incidents like that, although unusual, can luxuriate in an have an effect on in your workflow, so I might effectively be remiss if I didn’t a minimal of acknowledge them, even though the digicam carried out completely in each different negate that day.

Day Three: Discovering My Delighted House and A Cameo Look

Talking of performing completely, I’ve talked about listed right here and in last week’s article that the overwhelming majority of focal degree points with this, or any digicam in truth, can incessantly be solved by selecting the best focal degree mode. For a few of us who aren’t inclined too incessantly altering focal degree modes, this can possible be a studying curve. Nevertheless, whereas you convey collectively these that be simply high for you, you might unencumber a digicam’s real doable.

For example this degree, I’ll high-tail in a little bit of a preview. As of scripting this essay, I luxuriate in already despatched again my Z 6II loaner to its rightful proprietor and am within the technique of trying out the Z 7II. That digicam will safe its luxuriate in sequence of articles. Nevertheless, attributable to it and the Z 6II are literally equal quite then sensor dimension, I believed a prompt level out of my hen autofocus check out with that digicam might effectively presumably be applicable to embody right here since I had realized draw extra referring to the Z autofocus machine, which might apply to every.

The day past, I took the Z 7II again out to the equal nature protect the assign aside I took the Z 6II for my preliminary check out. This stoop, I made up my mind to make use of your complete day in single-level AF whereas in AF-C. I’d tried your complete better, extra dynamic modes with the Z 6II. I turned into extraordinary to take dangle of what would occur if I went with a single degree. Successfully, what came about turned into a halt to 100% hit price with tack-interesting birds’ eyes, even in flight. It turned into clearly extra of a negate to protect the smaller single degree on the birds as they zipped earlier. Nevertheless I turned into astonished by how efficiently the digicam stored up. This recognized two points. One, the extra you apply, the higher you might safe. And two, the digicam is greater than in a position to conserving up. I’ll dig deeper into that day as efficiently as how I accidentally came upon the additional particular tempo of my Z lenses after I process my Z 7II overview. I’m solely lawful basis to go looking out that digicam. Nevertheless, because it and the Z 6II fraction the equal excessive capabilities, it turned into a worthwhile check out, and I believed the success of it turned into worth stating right here, as you may at all times be able to safe an similar outcomes from the smaller sibling.


All in all, I’ll inform that the digicam turned into very environment friendly on my journeys out to shoot vegetation and fauna and birds. The overwhelming majority of hiccups had been effortlessly mounted by altering my autofocus mode. In phrases of physique price, I came upon the tempo of the Z 6II’s excessive-tempo burst to be greater than sufficient. I’m now not any particular person who sprays and prays, conserving my finger pressed to the shutter and hoping for the best, however I by no draw had any peril operating into buffer points or feeling I ignored a second attributable to taking pictures tempo. The viewfinder turned into heaps mountainous and mental with a speedily sufficient refresh price with a process to hint the birds. Inside the Z line, the Z 7II might effectively presumably be preferable for vegetation and fauna merely attributable to its better megapixels offering extra cropping doable.  Nevertheless whereas you occur to might effectively moreover luxuriate within the real method and the real lens, the Z 6II is a terribly environment friendly vegetation and fauna instrument.

For sure, whereas I spent these first two articles as efficiently as lots of the early days with the digicam familiarizing myself with it by taking pictures non-essential topic issues like vegetation and fauna, pet photos, and even my afternoon walkabout, the actual quiz turned into at all times going to be how the digicam would process when put to the check out on a real assign aside. My early trials had been a real chance to place the digicam by an autofocus stress check out and uncover referring to the fantastic data, however promoting and advertising and marketing photographs are how I find the money for to feed every myself and my devices dependancy. So, how wouldn’t it now not process?

Tune in subsequent week for the final phrase share of my sequence on the Z 6II and a stare on the draw during which it performs on the actual assign aside of a authentic job.

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