Posted in Bird, Gear, Hobby, Photography, Review
January 1, 2018

Nikon D500 + Nikkor 200-500 mm F5.6 Lens

While I always enjoyed taking photographs of birds, I have often been frustrated that the gear I have do not permit me to get a better shot. I enjoyed just looking at the birds but sometime I wish I can have a photo or two to take back as souvenir. Things got even worse after M got her P900 and she was able to shoot away while I just watch. And so after a long long time. of contemplating and seeing that my D7000 was almost ready to go to the great photograph world beyond, I caved in and bought a D500 and subsequently a few weeks later got a used 200 – 500 mm lens to go along.

Here is a sample of the photos taken using these combo. The first 3 photos show the sensor capabilities of the D500. All the photos are taken in JPEG and handheld so there is noticeable motion blur.  No post editing has been applied as well just to show the original quality of the camera.

This photo is taken with ISO at 6400 with aperture of F5.6 a combination almost unimaginable with the D7000 where anything above ISO 1600 and the noise will be so bad that the photo will not be usable.

D500 + 200 – 500 MM F5.6 210mm ISO 6400 F5.6 1/80

This next photo is taken at an even higher ISO of 12800 and the noise level is still acceptable. And I was able to use a fast speed of 1/640 for this. How about that!

230mm ISO 12800 F5.6 1/640

Another photo taken at ISO 12800 with a slightly brighter background. 

D500 + 200 – 500 MM F5.6 230mm ISO 12800 F5.6 1/640

So more or less I am confident that I solve the low light problems that more often than not, force me to give the bird a miss. On to the next big bug bear. Reach…

Previously using the 70-200 mm with a 1.4 converter, I was only able to get a reach of 340 mm on the D7000. Now with the D500 + the 200 – 500 mm, the maximum reach has extended to an effective 750 mm and that is without using the teleconverter! OF course in most cases, the reach is still not enough especially for smaller birds but with the sensor capability of the D500, I can happily crop away to get fairly good close up. Here are 3 images taken at 500 mm and cropped to 100% or more. Again all are handheld with no post editing so not as sharp as I like but the details of the feathers are still visible in the closed up photos.

D500 + 200 – 500 MM F5.6 500mm
500mm ISO 800 F5.6 1/500
500mm ISO 560 F5.6 1/400

So I solved the low light and the reach problem. Now how to get the photo sharp? Guess I have to start looking around for a good sturdy tripod soon…….

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