Are you a wildlife photographer kicking around the idea of switching to mirrorless – or at least maybe adding a mirrorless camera to your bag? Do you wonder what, if any, the advantages are for wildlife photography? Is it just hype or are there real benefits that could help you in the field?
In this video, I’ll share what I think are the most useful features mirrorless cameras bring to the table for a wildlife shooter – as well as a few disadvantages you should know too. Check it out.
Is It Time To Ditch Your DSLR?
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Only the top of the range mirrorless cameras work well for wildlife. If your budget is £1,000 or so a used D500 or new D7500 will work far, far better than a £1,000 mirrorless. And then there is the lens budget: a 300/f4 + 1.4 TC on an aps-c DSLR will produce fine images. Mirrorless isn’t in the same ballpark. The Fuji XH-2 and 150-600 (say) is pretty (even too) pricey.
To tell the truth, this post is so useful for me because now I’m engaged in photography and i try to develop in this sphere, looking for new creative modern methods. I really like to capture wildlife in photos and I’ve heard a lot about mirrorless. I know that it has a wide range of capability but I wasn’t fully aware of all the details and functionality regarding it. I think that one of the greatest advantage of this camera is getting much better results when shooting in poor lighting conditions because the ordinary cameras can’t provide you with this… Read more »
Biggest Advantage of mirror is, there’s no delay in viewfinder, in fast action I realized no matter what setting I use, there’s split second delay, the image captured is not what i perceived when i shoot
I even considering to buy another DSLR to combat this issue
That’s because you haven’t used a Sony A1… That cameras EVF is imperceptible to a DSLR. It is truly amazing… Also , the A1 AF tracking is truly astounding so expect far more keepers than a top end DSLR. Yes the A1 is expensive…but to be fair it’s competitive with the Nikon D6 and Canon 1DXmiii.. and actually delivers more for the same cost
Have you tried fast action by reflect on A1?
It’s clearly said black out free, but not delay free
You see,in mirrorless, light is converted to electronic data, processed, and then reconverted to light
There’s no way electron charge and processor can match speed of light, therefore there’s delay, what you see in evf already in the past, compared to DSLR
Try it by yourself and you will see
There is no perceptible delay shooting very fast action on A1… I shoot BIF which qualifies there. Lag is not present…I use the high 240fps EVF option and it’s super fluid. No trouble keeping up with fast birds such as swallows and Kingfishers. Same when using the 120FPS mode …results speak for themselves
Strange, I’m pretty sure there’s split second delay, i pull the trigger and what i got in the frame is not what i have in mind when i pull the shutter
Not bif, try to shoot based on reflex, that’s where it’s evident
240 or 120 doesn’t matter, it’s just refresh rate, the light presented to your eyes already in the past
A1 has no perceptible delay…sorry but I own one and have tested alongside a friends D5. Matter of fact he tried my A1 and was stunned at how fluid the EVF was, and shocked at how well it could track Kingfishers we were shooting that day (and number of keepers he was able to pull off). In my opinion we have already transitioned away from DSLR with cameras like the A1
Percepting a delay depends on the user. Not everyone can percept it, but many can. My dad cannot see past 60hz displays. I can easily say which display is 60hz and which is 120hz, or 144hz even. Delay is even easier for me. I haven’t used an A1 yet but I’m certain that I’ll be able to easily see the delay between the EVF and reality.
Excellent summary. Conclusion the Sony A1 is really the best (expensive €7’300 approx) Mirrorless today. It is available and deliverable on internet. The AF performances of both the Nikon Z7 and/or Z6II (I have both) are not comparable with the results obtained with my D6 and D5 DSLR’s and a 300mm F4 PF. I tested it with Black Kite bird photographies. Ok, if I wait for a Nikon D9, maybe it will be up to the A1 standard, maybe not. Also, purchasing and obtaining a new Nikon D9 or even D6 is not easy in Europe. They are systematically delivered… Read more »
Steve just makes sense every time.
Can…Can you tell that to my wife?
Lol… Same. I’m trying for the 600F4 GM for my A1 and wife’s giving me the stink eye 🙂
Stick to my £1,000(ish) budget per item and you won’t get the eye. I sat in a hide next to a chap with a 5Diii, 300/f2.8 and 500/f4 (how many £000 in that?). I had a used D610 (£800) and a D7500 (£1,100) with a used 300/f4 (£800) and 1.4TC (£300). When I took my 19×13 inch home prints to get framed the pro photographer who runs the shop enjoyed looking at them and shared wildlife photos he had. Yes, I’m just a hobbyist and have no pressure to produce results, but then my wife has no issues with my… Read more »
Q: Does this change if we bring in the cost factor at which these advantages are available for DSLR vs Mirrorless? For example I can manage to get 10 frames per second and pretty decent image quality combining a D500 and a Nikon 300mm f/2.8. In used market this combination will probably cost me below $4000. What are my options at this price point in Mirrorless world?
None that I know of (why price was on the disadvantage list). Things will change in time, but right now DSLRs are more affordable and can give very usable performance without breaking the bank.
I have a D5 as well as a Z6ii supplied by my job. I use both for personal photography. I seem to gravitate to the D5 when shooting wildlife and the Z6ii while out shooting street photography. I’m interested to use the Z9 when we get them at work. I think it will replace both the D5 and Z6ii for me.
I too tend to favor the D5/6 for wildlife when shooting Nikon. I think the Z9 will change our minds 🙂
When Tony Northrup shifted to his first Sony mirrorless camera he noticed that after only a week’s shooting his sensor had a lot of dust on it. He also had a second copy of that body and found that before he had even shot one frame there were even a few dust specks on it. Is there an issue with the electronics of mirrorless cameras attracting dust to the sensor, which DSLR bodies do not have to the same degree?
Many thanks for your thoughts!!!
They do seem a bit more susceptible to dust, but in my experience not horribly so. The sensors are easier to clean too – if I spot dust, I just hit it with a Rocket Blower. Works most of the time (I have yet to wet clean any of my Sonys). Heading to Africa with them soon so maybe I’ll change my mind about the dust thing!!
After much deliberation, I sold my Nikon D850 and purchased the Nikon Z6II. I held onto my Nikon D500 for birds and because of the lenses I have accumulated. I will have an opportunity to use it next week on the beaches in Oregon and with some Milky Way photography. It was a buy and sell issue, I sold some gear in order to buy a Z format 20 mm f/1.8 lens. Although I loved my D850, I found I was only using it for limited purposes because the of megapixels. Thank you for your video…. hope I made the… Read more »
I think you’ll love it for Milky Way photography!
I made a very similar decision myself… just sold the D850 and bought a z7ii.
Kept the D500, 500pf, and 150 Sigma macro. Sold all other f mount lenses.
Bought the z 14-24s and the z 85mm s
So far, I’m very happy with the decision and the D500 has remained my wildlife kit while the z7ii basically does everything else for my photography needs. From portraiture to landscape and architecture, the z7ii is just spectacular; again for my needs.
I sold the D750 but kept the D500 to use with my 500 F4G, & 300 F2.8. I have bought a Z6ii with the kit 24-70 F4 and got a 50 F1.8. It will take some time and quite a bit of cash to move to native glass for the Z6ii. The quality of the lenses is very attractive. I don’t actually like the busy yellow squares picking out the eyes when I use eye detect. I find it distracting. I’d love to be able to reduce the distraction level but keep the eyes in focus. I hope mirrorless eventually… Read more »
Great info as usual and great information on the mirrorless cameras pros/con. The price and lens selection is my main issue on switching as you pointed out. I was like ok’ing at changing to a Sony A9, but the investment of glass to start over was my concern. My D850 works for what I need and meets my needs for the next few years. I hope the Z 8 will have most the features of the Z9 at a lower price point, in order to use my lens with an adapter. I like the AF and eye tracking features of… Read more »
I tell people if you can wait, then do it. I too think a Z8 might be just what every Nikon shooter is waiting for. Hopefully it’ll be great (and soon).
I’m on the Z8 hype train as well; but seeing as it’s not officially announced, we’re probably looking at a 2023 availability at the earliest… if not 2024 or beyond. For those who are patient, Z7ii deals can be found and as soon as that Z9 is released we’ll see even more of them in the used market. Consider it a long term rental! Grab a Z7ii used for $2300 and sell it for a minimal loss in 2 years when the Z8 does become a reality. This lets me get used to the mirror less technology and interface and… Read more »
I find (at least in macro) that mirror less cameras (at least Nikon) have trouble achieving subject auto focus (AF-C) in low contrast situations.
They can struggle a bit and I think at least part of that is due to the lack of cross-type AF sensors. I think things will improve though. I’m often surprised at how well both my Sony and Canon can lock onto tricky targets.