Shadows, Used Gear, Aspect Ratios, and Z cameras

Yup – I’m doing podcasts now!

In this first episode, I’ll share a secret I use for better shadow pulling, plus we have our first Q&A session! This episode’s questions will tackle my feelings on used gear, how aspect ratios work, and what I currently think of the Nikon Z cameras for wildlife photography (brace yourself).

Also, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below 😀

Please Note – we’ve had a few questions already about the audio-only nature of the podcast – that’s how they work. Podcasts are typically an audio-only format.

TOC:
00.01 – Intro and podcast plans
02.35 – Better Shadow Management
06.15 – Used Gear
07.48 – Understating Aspect Ratios
14.00 – Z Cameras For Wildlife

NOTE -You can also get this podcast on iTunes – just search Backcountry Gallery or click here. We are also on Spotify, just search for Backcountry Gallery and please make sure to follow 😀

Show Notes

In this episode, I mention two recommendations for used gear – here are the links: UsedPhotoPro.com & KEH.com

PS – If you enjoyed this post, I think you’ll REALLY like my e-books, Secrets To Exposure And Metering For Nikon, Secrets To Stunning Wildlife Photography, and Secrets To The Nikon Autofocus System. I’m sure you’ll also love my new Lightroom Library Module video workshop and of course my Noise Reduction video workshop. They’re filled with hundreds of tips, techniques and information just like this. Check ’em out – click here (hey, it’s free to look).

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This entry was posted in Nikon Gear, Podcasts, Techniques, Wildlife.

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Ziggy
Guest
Ziggy

Nikon made so many compromises with its mirrorless they must’ve been thinking it was 2014.
I love my D500 and was expecting to stay with Nikon for mirrorless but the Sony A9 was generally superior and became my choice.

Mark Mozley
Guest

Great podcast. Love them and love the tip about keep shooting when something is happening in your view finder. I use a number of cameras, Nikon D800e, D500 for most of my landscape and wildlife and a D1X and D200 infrared. I stepped into the mirrorless a few years ago the Olympus OMD EM 10. Great little camera for wildlife on hikes and travel (small and light). One point to think about is glass. I have a lot of Nikon glass I have collected over the years which work with my Nikon DSLR and Film (F5 and FE2) cameras so… Read more »

Dale Elliott
Guest
Dale Elliott

Steve , Great information ! I am 72 and use a D750 and D850 love both of them. if younger maybe would look into mirror less and just starting. thanks again Steve

Bruno Gallet
Guest
Bruno Gallet

Hi. I don’t know if you noticed it, but to get a good follow-up with the Z6 you must configure it as follows: Image RAW 12 bit lossless compression burst 12 images per second This is mandatory, because what you see during the burst is not the standar video at 60fps, it is only the last photo you captured, so it is a video at 12 fps in the best case, and 5fps in the worst case. This is why you should set the burst to 12i/s. And you must set the RAW to 12 bits in order to give… Read more »

Joe
Guest

From your perspective and looking at your needs, I can understand your views of the Z cameras. Shooting with big glass with wildlife as your breadwinner, the issues you cite are highly relevant. As a shooter using a D750 for most work to date and having just added the Z6 plus my D600 IR conversion and Nikon1 J3s for underwater work, I live in 14-24 MP land with the 200-500 f/5.6 as my long wildlife lens. With this equipment, I have accepted that I will get lower hit rates than with a D5, D500 or D850 and faster glass. So… Read more »

Rodney
Guest
Rodney

Steve, You have talked about used gear from time to time. Used gear can be a roll of the dice so i wont get into that specifically. I have been wanting to ask you a question. This is directed towards the long glass. Unless you make your living from photography, as you do. The average working man is hard pressed to afford 5-10K for a new…say 500 F/4. No matter how seriously you take photography. So that means some shots/clarity are just unattainable to those that cant pay to play, so to speak. You buy new and I would too… Read more »

Les Thompson
Guest
Les Thompson

Great podcast Steve. Really enjoyed it

Richard murray
Guest
Richard murray

Steve
Great job on the podcast. Just left you a review on apple podcasts (5*). Keep up the great work!

Mike Gaan
Guest
Mike Gaan

I (amateur) have all your books. Learning a lot. Re. Your ‘shadow management’ tip, isn’t minimizing the ISO a normal goal anyway? Are there situations where you would ‘not’ try to shoot with the lowest ISO? …or do you mean that sometimes you rather not take the time to fine tune ISO, and your tip recommends ‘taking’ the time, if shadows are a concern.
I enjoy your lessons.

Mark Friedman
Guest
Mark Friedman

Hi Steve, a few months ago there was a lot of discussion on the web about cameras being “ISO invariant”. As I understand it, this was about whether with a particular camera (sensor?) it is better to raise the iso or instead use a low iso and push the exposure or shadow sliders. At least some of the commentators concluded that modern sensors and software are so good that using a low iso works well. It sounds like you do not agree with that conclusion?

H R Boyce
Guest
H R Boyce

I don’t understand comparing a Z6/Z7 with the Sony models you mentioned. The price difference is incredible so I can’t understand why you would expect the cameras to perform the same. You get what you pay for just like you wouldn’t put cheap glass in front of either of them and expect to get the same shots you would with top end glass. I do have a question for you – how much of the problem you are finding issue with auto focus is possibly due to using lenses not designed specifically for the body you are shooting with? Are… Read more »

Chris Hayes
Guest
Chris Hayes

I love your site, videos, but mainly all your books, i have them all and re read the wildlife book, they are awesome. I don’t think the podcasts are for me. Obviously some people like the format, but its not for me. Photography is a visual medium, the sound only falls short, not your content, just the format.

Jim Wiesner
Guest
Jim Wiesner

Thanks for this great podcast! I have been waiting to hear your view on Sony. And since you mentioned the subjects of Sony cameras and noise level control here, can you comment about noise levels of the Sony vs. Nikon cameras? Last I checked (and if I am interpreting correctly), DXOMark seems to have rated the low light capability of the Sony cameras (A7iii and A9) significantly better than the D850 and D5, and a full stop and a half better than the D500. For low-light wildlife photography, that would seem to be a major advantage of Sony. What do… Read more »

Gary Irwin
Guest
Gary Irwin

Excellent podcast and commentary Steve — I like the podcast format ‘cus I can do other things at the same time as listen to your sage advice! BTW, completely agree with your Z’ comments…looking forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences with Sony. Cheers!

Herman Jakubowski
Guest
Herman Jakubowski

Steve I want to thank you for this informative podcast and look forward to others in the future. A few personal observations regarding “Better Shadow Management” and that is I did the bad thing to get shadows in LR and sometimes I liked the results but other times it was an effort. When I lowered my ISO and lowered by shutter speed and did much more continuous shooting the results got significantly better. I of course had more shots that showed movement but I also got a lot more keepers with no movement and no noise issues in post. It… Read more »

Chris Saito
Guest
Chris Saito

Steve – I really like the podcast. Thank you and please keep them coming! Regarding the Z cameras, I have a Z6 and D500 and completely agree with your assessment. I shoot some wildlife, but mostly I shoot mountain sports. I like the Z6 for still or slow moving subjects, but it is nowhere near as good as the D500 at acquiring and holding focus for fast moving athletes — I use continuous focus usually with single point AF. I hope Nikon can improve with firmware updates like they did for eye tracking, but for now, my D500 is my… Read more »

Samir Kamat
Guest
Samir Kamat

Thanks for the podcast. I liked the ISO discussion as I just faced that issue when photographing a cormorant and the black bottom has issues with noise. Please keep this going. It’s very useful.

William Thomas
Guest
William Thomas

Thanks for including the minute markers for the topics. Very helpful!

Gregory
Guest

Thanks Steve. Just shot a practice series of a foraging armadillo in late afternoon shadow and your “quick tip” regards pulling shadows and ISO and SS settings in low light, shadow conditions absolutely spot on. Thanks for clarifying what I was trying to figure out. Great podcast and Nice music intro too.

Eric Janzer
Guest
Eric Janzer

Great job on podcast numero uno, Steve! I’ve been enjoying your videos, books, e-mails and all the other info you put ‘out there’ for consumption. I’ve learned a lot of highly useful techniques, settings and processes that I’ve applied successfully to my D7500 shooting. The podcasts should be one more avenue of information that helps folks in their wildlife photographic journey. Keep ’em coming and shoot straight!

Ingrid
Guest
Ingrid

Hi Steve, the podcast is difficult for me to follow. I lose concentration totally when I can’t look at an image at the same time. So I hope you’ll go back to the videos which I love!

Stan Kaslusky
Guest
Stan Kaslusky

Enjoyed the podcast, keep em coming. I find it’s always better to get a few usable tips explained rather than a complex explanation of a whole subject like autofocus or lightroom. It’s very easy to “glaze over” when getting too much detail. Love your videos too.

mark gross
Guest
mark gross

Say, do you have any configuration advance for using a z6 or z7 for wildlife shooting anyway? I just got a z6 and the thing that bugs me the most is the time it takes to resume from stand by. But, I worry that if I disable the suspend or stand by state then the battery life will suffer too much. Have you played with that and have any advice?

Jim Murray
Guest
Jim Murray

Love it Steve – more please…

steve Jones
Guest
steve Jones

Stick with the videos ..its like a blind person listening to a television

Peter
Guest
Peter

Thanks for the straight forward thoughts, tips and points of view. Keep ’em coming.

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

Steve,
Thank you for this new and usefull method, it is a great idea and I really appreciate it. The only suggestion I can provide to expand the usabillity of this tool to the several not native American speakers would be to try to speak a bit slower.
Waiting for the next podcast, thank you

Tom Stokes
Guest
Tom Stokes

Great information as always Steve. You have a presentation style that is easy to understand and follow. Very nicely done. I hope you continue with your podcast series – I enjoy all your content.

David
Guest
David

Pounding a nail with a wrench – love it! Great info as always – thanks Steve. Looking forward to your next episode.

Iain Duncan
Guest
Iain Duncan

Excellent podcast, thank you. Keep it up. Looking forward to the next one

William Lax
Guest

Hey Steve, I like the podcast. It gives me information options. I prefer the videos…guess I’m more a visual guy. If I get fidgety listening to podcasts I can always listen at 2x or .5x for a :}

Justin
Guest
Justin

Appreciate the new format and hope to hear from you more often with it. I’ve been shooting wildlife with Nikon for years and recently picked up the Sony A7R2 to try out their system. Sounds to me like maybe you’ve done the same, perhaps through your wife. Do you see yourself sticking with Nikon long term as they hopefully polish the Z series, or are you personally taking more of an interest in what Sony is doing? I’m considering investing in some Sony glass and respect your opinion, as well as your resources.

Joel
Guest

I have an A7R2 – can’t imagine using it for wildlife. When the viewfinder goes blank, how do you follow an animal? And I don’t think it focuses fast enough. I just use it for landscape, usually manual focus. I also find it finicky, changes settings for no apparent reason. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m much more natural with a Nikon 850.

Justin
Guest
Justin

I actually meant the A7R4. Haven’t used the previous iterations. The 4 is great for wildlife. Still prefer my D850, but I’m getting close to wanting mirrorless full time.

Patricia Toicen-Dycee
Guest
Patricia Toicen-Dycee

Steve,
Love the podcast format. You came through loud and clear. Thanks for doing it. I picked up a tip or two.

David Cowles
Guest
David Cowles

Great information as always Steve. Honest no bull is appreciated. Podcast time around 30 mins is good idea.look forward to next one.

Steve Burkholder
Guest
Steve Burkholder

Hi Steve, I’ve owned the Z7 for the last 9 months and have shot over 20k frames with it. I must agree with all of your discussed deficiencies in the model as I’ve personally experienced all the same issues. I’ve really wanted to like but… I’ve been waiting for Nikon to release their macro lens for it but it’s looking it will be another 18 to 24 months yet. So I think I just might take the hit on selling it and am looking at the D850.

Gerhard Buhler
Guest
Gerhard Buhler

Steve – great information as always, in new format. I see the advantages of doing a podcast vs video, but don’t forget, your medium is highly visual and the time it takes to describe a photo is longer than just to show it. Anyways, looking forward to more. Have you ever thought about discussing your workflow with tips on storage, editing and archiving? I am still trying to find my ideal flow and am looking for any help I could find.

Joe Mauler
Guest
Joe Mauler

Hi Steve, I know the Z cameras are lacking in some areas as you have talked about but this is Nikons 1st generation and Sony wasn’t very good in their first generations either. So hopefully Nikon will address those issues with firm wear updates and the gen 2 cameras will rock, or at least be much improved. I own the Z50 and bought it for street, family and landscapes but haven’t tried it yet for wildlife other than the birds in backyard, but so far love the camera and the image quality I’m getting. Yes it does have some quirks… Read more »

Jerry jaws
Guest
Jerry jaws

Are you doing this podcast on Apple podcast? Couldn’t find link or page when searched.

Marcus Slade
Guest
Marcus Slade

This was a great debut, Steve. If putting a podcast together becomes easier than a video within your schedule, bring it on. Always welcome your content. Thanks.

Alex Young
Guest
Alex Young

Thanks for the invite, Steve – I enjoyed the podcast. At first I thought, ‘where’s the video? ‘, but then remembered it’s a podcast, there is only audio! I’ve forwarded it to some friend, two of whom are thinking about buying a Z series Nikon to replace their Nikon DSLR’s. Your podcast will give them some great insight into the pros and cons of such a move. Have you used the adapter to fit your DSLR lenses to the Z’s? If so, what were the results? Is the IBIS in the Z’s an improvement over the VR that Nikon uses… Read more »

Robert Smith
Guest
Robert Smith

I enjoyed the 1st podcast. Wish I had heard it before I bought the Z7. I do have a D500 which I’ll
Continue to use. Thanks

Gary
Guest
Gary

Congrats on the podcast Steve, excellent (as expected! :))
Totally agree on all points
Excellent explanation on the shadow problem, actually, even wider scope since your video on noise reduction!
………..Gary

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

Great content, Loved it.

COREY RAFFEL
Guest

Hi, Steve, One thing you forgot to mention about the Sony mirrorless cameras is how small they are. I know that is supposed to be an advantage, but i tried one out when Sony announced a 600mm prime. I could not fit my fingers between the grip and the lens. And the grip was way too shallow. Anyone thinking of Sony should be sure to test out the fit (I do have big hands) before purchasing. The grips on the Nikon Z series are a much better fit for me. Also, here’s a question I never thought that I would… Read more »

John Beeston
Guest
John Beeston

Nicely composed format; will be looking forward to many more episodes. I’m shooting a Nikon D750 and have just obtained a 200-500 f5.6 lens. Have all three of your ebooks — they’re great!

Ziggy
Guest
Ziggy

Neato Steve.
Liked your run-down on the Zs. The end of the line for Nikon? Near-enough cameras won’t cut it in today’s market.

Kyle Howe
Guest
Kyle Howe

Glad to see that you have several methods to share your experience. Possible topic for future show – How do you sneak up on wild life? Clothing? Bird blinds? When hiking through the woods how do you successfully get close enough to capture a pic? Strategy over camera tech for wildlife….

George Krezinski
Guest
George Krezinski

I was very interested in your podcast about the Nikon Z cameras compared to the DSLRs as I recently purchased a Z7 and have been putting it through some trial shoots. I like to shoot using back button focus in Continuous focus mode; but noticed an issue with the Z7 that when releasing the AF-ON button to achieve a static focus on an animal that is not moving, the Z7 does not seem to show any kind of indicator symbol in the view finder or screen that confirms a good focus lock. On my D850, when I release the AF-ON… Read more »

Allan
Guest
Allan

Podcasts, ay? We miss your ugly mug!

🙂

Steve, thanks for making this podcast.

VIEL
Guest

Hi Steeve,
Sorry, but for a French, it’s very hard to follow what you say with only your voice.
On an other hand, it’s probably a way to improve both English and photography 😉