Thinking about a Z6ii or Z7ii for wildlife? Then this is the video you’ve been looking for!
In this video, I’ll discuss my experience using the Z6/7ii for wildlife photography. I’ve shot in various local locations and knocked out over 7000 images between the two bodies, so this isn’t just a quick afternoon test and review.
We’ll cover what works well, what’s average, and performance aspects that are less than ideal for some wildlife scenarios. Also, note this isn’t one of my full reviews; this one is tightly focused on my experience with the Z6/7ii for shooting wildlife.
I’ve had a lot of questions about the firmware version I tested with. It was the 1.0 and 1.01 firmware. Remember, I started testing as soon as these cameras hit the shelves.
Although I was not using the current (as of March 18th, 2021) 1.10 firmware, keep in mind that firmware did not add anything for wildlife shooters. It was an update for RAW video and improved eye tracking for people. In my experience with Nikon firmware over the years, what they say they update is really what’s updated. Had they improved other aspects, they’d brag about it for sure. (I think there are times wishful thinkers see “improvements” that aren’t there in non-repeatelabe “seat-of-the-pants” style tests – so be wary of those.) So, the info in the video is accurate for wildlife.
PS – If you enjoyed this post, I think you’ll REALLY like my e-books and video workshops! Thousands of pages and hours of videos filled with tips, tricks, and techniques – all my best content! Check ’em out – click here (hey, it’s free to look).
Did the 1.5 firmware update improve this camera for wildlife photography or should I wait for the Z8
hi seve what do u think of the new update 1.40 of the Z7 mark II and Z6Mk II for wildlife? or do u feel i should opt for D 850 as i am looking for a full frame/
Such an amazing article. Great share. Thank you. Loved it very helpful.
Very interesting insight. I believe in professionals so this is a very useful article for everyone. Thank you very much for sharing..
My D500 is dead… I like to shoot wildlife and like very much shooting Bird in flight. My F mount lens are Nikkor 500mm FP, 200-500mm, 70-200mm f2.8, Tamron 24-70mm. I have a D810 for landscape photography. I still have my old D7200 for backup. What will be your suggestions for a new camera? Some rumours indicated that Nikon may release 2 DSLR in 2021… Thank yo very much for your help.
What do you mean your D500 is dead?
I am always impressed by how terrific your reviews are. You are a consummate professional, unbiased, incredible knowledgable, and your videos are a pleasure to watch.
Welcome back! Be safe!
Thanks Steve Pleased to learn that you’re on the mend. Looking forward to some in-person instruction from you but what with this COVID thing hard to predict where or when. I’ve bought and benefited from most of your ebooks and videos all at affordable prices and thank you for them. I was blown away by the stunning detail in your “examples.” Your Sandhill Crane, Deer & Chickadees come to mind. I rarely get that kind of detail with my D500 & D850 cameras using my 600mm f4, 180-400 1.4Tc and 500mm f5.6 pf Nikkor lenses. How much of this is… Read more »
I typically get the same results regardless of the type of camera. The mirrorless do tend to have a slightly better accuracy rate for static subjects, but I get results like what you see in this video with my DSLRs. Also, processing can help but if the image isn’t sharp, it’s hard to come back from that. Most of the time the keys are getting close, not cropping (much), using lower ISOs and good technique. And it takes practice too.
Excellent job, It was what I really needed to read before purchasing a new Z6II. I have a Z7 but find it not very good at all for my bird photography outings, even tough I really liked the silent mode.
Sir, I am using a nikon p1000.. As it has no AFC, I am finding it very hard to shoot birds in flight..
I am considering
1) Nikon d 500 with nikkor 200-500mm lens
2) z6 with nikkor 200-500mm lens on an ftz adaptor
3) Sony a7iii with sigma 150-600mm lens on a sigma mb 11 adaptor..
I will be shooting mostly handheld.. Can u please give me some light… Hope you are recovering well from covid..
Thank you so much Steve for your very good video; for now, I will keep using my D500, waiting for, may be one day, the missing link, a Z8; Take care, you and you wife Rose!
Steve, glad to see you recovering from Covid. That’s all I want to say. Not ready for any Z models. Love my D bodies
I’m glad you’re healthy again! I had COVID in August, and it knocked me down for about a month.
Very good video, did you have the latest firmware update when you made the video? 1.10?
Just put a note below the video about it 🙂
Hope you are recovering and are back to 100% soon.
One question: do you think that the upgrade from the Z7 to the Z7 II is large enough to seriously considering the extra cost. I am hoping that Nikon offers a trade up event soon.
I’m interested in the answer to this question as well…plus something to consider..a Z9 will be coming out but thats sounding a little much to me..cost, size ect.
It depends if the Z7 is doing what you need it to do. If it’s consistently falling short, then an upgrade is 100% worth it. We have absolutely seen noticeable, repeatable AF improvements between to first and second versions. The new cameras simply work better for AF. However, if I were shooting landscapes, no way I’d upgrade 🙂
thanks. I am leaning to waiting for a trade in program. I use my D850 for 90% of my wildlife shooting. I found that the Z7 is not ready for serious wildlife work.
Steve, glad you are back home and recovering well! Did you do this test with the current 1.10 firmware update applied? I’m wondering if you found tracking to be better with the latest update.
Just put a note below the video about the firmware 🙂
Excellent video covering most aspects of the Z mirrorless cameras. One aspect omitted is that autofocus fine tuning is not needed with a mirrorless camera. I often resort to manual focus with my D850 and D5 cameras to insure sharp focus with long telephoto lenses.
If one needs Z lenses to get maximum performance than I need to wonder whether to buy a couple of Nikon Z camera and full compliment of Z lenses or to go to Canon or Olympus or Sony mirrorless cameras and lenses.