Wildlife encounters are blink-and-you’ll-miss-it. And when you want a shot of the animal’s behaviour and facial expressions, it is only natural to expect the most from your camera. Find out more about the Nikon D500 and its performance that is sure to deliver that perfect shot, as I share my own impressions from using it. (Photo and report by Junichi Noguchi)
Nikon D500/ AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR / 600mm (equivalent to 900mm in FX/35mm format)/ Aperture-priority auto (f/6.3, 1/2,500 sec, EV +0.3)/ ISO 1600 / WB: 5,000K
I used a super-telephoto lens to boldly capture a mandarin duck as it vigorously flapped its wings, splashing water into the air. The D500, with its dramatically improved autofocus speed and accuracy, was unaffected by the water droplets that were sprayed around by the fast flapping wings.
Nikon D500/ AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR / 600mm (equivalent to 900mm in FX/ 35mm format)/ Aperture-priority auto (f/5, 1/1,250 sec)/ ISO 1600 / WB: 5260K
I came across a family of Ezo brown bears in the middle of a forest. Using the telephoto crop effect made possible by the DX format image sensor, I was able to get a shot while keeping my distance from the bears. I had greater mobility on the field thanks to the compact body and reduced weight of the latest super-telephoto lens combined with the D500.
Nikon D500/ AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR＋TC-14E Ⅲ/ 840mm (equivalent to 1,260mm in FX/35mm format)/ Aperture-priority auto (f/7.1, 1/160 sec, EV +0.3)/ ISO 400/ WB: 5260K
An Ezo squirrel amidst corydalis ambigua and dogtooth violet flowers. To me, these flowers, along with the amur adonis, strongly signal the arrival of spring. The speed of the autofocus on the D500 allowed me to easily and reliably capture even the quick moving Ezo squirrel.
Nikon D500/ AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED/ 12mm (equivalent to 18mm in FX/35mm format)/ Aperture-priority auto (f/4, 1/400 sec, EV -0.7)/ ISO 6400/ WB: 5000K
A flock of white-fronted geese flying off together before dawn. Even in scenes where it seemed rather dark to the naked eye, the D500 continued doing its job as usual with the autofocus, which can carry out focusing in environments as dark as EV -4. At a high speed of 10 fps, the camera reliably captured the instant when the flock of white-fronted geese formed into rather picturesque sight.
The D500 was my trusty sidekick in my search for wildlife to photograph in Hokkaido, where I could finally feel the arrival of spring. My aim was to experience the ultra-high performance of the D500 more clearly through some hands-on shooting in my field of specialisation. The thing that I felt keenly soon after shooting was the amazingness of the new 153-point AF system.
As a base, I usually set my autofocus mode to AF-C when I photograph wildlife. For this shoot, because I was familiar with the subjects and could predict their movements, I used Single-point AF and 25-point dynamic-area AF. I could clearly experience the dramatically enhanced performance of each autofocus point.
With the previous flagship models, I had experienced numerous times during a shoot when I felt uncertain about the accuracy of the focus and had to check the images on the LCD monitor to see how that moment was and whether I got the shot I was after. However, with the D500, I just knew at the moment of releasing the shutter that I was able to get the right shot. For a wildlife photographer like myself, who cannot afford to miss such moments, this sense of assurance is the biggest selling point of the D500.
In addition to the high autofocus capability and continuous shooting performance, the telephoto crop effect unique to the DX format and high mobility are also very appealing features. When combined with a compact super telephoto zoom lens such as the AF-S NIKKOR 80- 400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, which provides a focal length equivalent to 120-600mm, it allows for even more active shooting. In my opinion, the D500 is surely the camera that holds the trump card for wildlife photography.
Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1968. Moved to Hokkaido in 2000. Since that time, he has specialised in wildlife photography, mainly in Hokkaido, and has provided works for various media, such as magazines, calendars and pamphlets. In recent years he has expanded his activities to overseas, where he continues in his pursuit of wildlife photography. Member of the Japan Photographers Association