Nikon Z6ii and Z7ii Wildlife Photography Review



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.

Enjoy!

Original source

40 thoughts on “Nikon Z6ii and Z7ii Wildlife Photography Review

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    I love Steve's reviews. He doesn't try to be sexy, cute nor is he angry, just a straight-forward honest reviews 👌👍🙂

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Guys. I have a d850. Do u think I should buy the z7ii to replace it? I'm nit sure. I'm kinda new but decent lol

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Can you please compare D500 with Z6ii?
    I'm used to the ultra-fast focus of the D500 and now find it difficult to trust the relatively slower focus of Z6ii. Or maybe I'm doing something wrong?

    Thank you!

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    I have found the autofocus on the Z7ii horrible. It has trouble acquiring focus on static objects – unless there’s huge contrast. Example a hanging bird feeder with trees in the distant background. Both are a shade of green but the Z7ii can’t grab focus. It just spins back and forth from stop to stop without locking on. And this is using the native Z 70-200 or 500mmf4 f mount glass. My D6 has no problem with this simple test and neither do the D850, 500, and even the old 610 out performs it. And when it does focus on the target it takes its bloody time. It practically useless on small birds because they don’t stay put long enough for the Z to focus. I almost threw the thing out into the yard- but it had a valuable lens mounted. I hate the thing. I feel cheated for being a loyal Nikon user and I’ve totally wasted my money. I’m now considering switching to Sony. I thought those words would never come from me given my investment in Nikon gear and glass. But I’m now to the point where I’m tired of waiting. Even if the D9 shows up this year it will be backordered for another 6 months and it will undoubtedly be a year or 2 behind Sony in autofocus. I just don’t think Nikon gives a shit any more. They crap on loyal users waiting for prime glass and the D9 by investing in a gimmick camera when they already have the D50 to cover that space. Yes I get it they need to make cameras to sell in volume but how long is the base of Nikon users supposed to wait? 2 3 4 more years. Hell the demographic that can afford a D9 and large Z mount primes are old enough to consider switching to Sony just to have more years of shooting left. I know that’s a factor for me. Every year I wait for Nikon to catch up is a year less taking photos of wildlife. And the pile of crap Z7ii didn’t cut it. Now I understand why all the Nikon wildlife guys on you tube – Steve, Mark Smith and all the others have abandoned Nikon. Nikon arrogantly bides their time assuming we’ll all wait for them to get near parity. It’s lucky for them that Sony keeps selling out the alpha 1. It’s the only thing that’s kept me from pulling the trigger!

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Hi Steve I have z7 and just got the z7ii I used my d500 for my wild life but now I use my z7ii I’m looking for more set up and tips more in depth on your videos thank doug

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Part of me says that we won't get the "live feed at 8fps" type of stuff. They'll save that for the Z8 and Z9 (although the Z9 will likely be 20 fps with no blackout and all "live feed" basically). Thankfully, for me at least, I don't shoot wildlife so these limitations are not a problem, but for sports and wildlife shooters, I can imagine it would be.

    I think for the case of tracking, Nikon is probably not utilizing the second processor to its full extent. I'm sure this was done on purpose, and there are rumors that in September, a decent-sized AF update will be coming for the Z II bodies… but that's just rumor

    The Z7 II at least is really meant to compete with the Sony A7R III and IV (between the two) and likely the R6 in Canon's line-up (despite the lower resolution on the R6). The R5 I would say is a step above the Z7 II, as is the a1 from Sony. (I would also say the R3 ~ Z8, and the R1 will ~ Z9). But I still feel that the R5 likely sits between a Z7 II and a Z8 in reality. Of course I'm making an assumption that the Z8 wil lbe "better" than the Z7 series, but not to the same calibre as the the upcoming Z9. The Z8 in reality will likely be close to an A7R IV, but with perhaps slightly newer features because of age (as the A7R IV is now about 2 years old).

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Well, I'm think the Z8 will be more like the Sony A7R IV in terms of resolution and shooting specs at least. A step up from the Z7's but probably a step down from the Z9 (which is supposedly going to be "better" Than the current D6). I think placing your assessment that the Z/Z II bodies around a D750 to D780 is about right (I'd say even a D810, as some features were carried over from the D810 and D850 but they don't perform as well as the D850 at least, in my opinion.

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Steve, I prefer Sony's mirror-less cameras to those of Nikon's Z. Can you recommend an adapter for using Sony's mirror-less camera with Nikon's 500mm 5.6 PF lens?

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    hello Steve, just got my Z 70-200 F/2.8. It is a little short on a Z6ii for birds so I am hesitating to buy a Z TC2 converter to have a 140-400mm F/5.6. Any experience on this ?
    I am also wondering something. can we set Z6ii in DX mode to transform 70-200 into 105-300mm F/2.8 or, with TC2, into a 210-600mm F/5.6 both with 5-axis stabilization ?
    update : just found your 25/6/2019 video about converters but I have heard that these old converters were not as good as new Z ones so I keep this post, especially about DX mode.

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Have you ever tried "interval timer shooting" on the Z6II? My setting is A, auto ISO up to 51200, over 1000 shots. I have a random issue, first 10 to 20 shots are overexposed (totally white) then it shows exposure back to normal gradually.

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Currently I use 2 D750 for rodeo or some other equine events and I have been really interested in the auto focusing system on the Z6ii and your info Steve is helpful,but lacks the certainty I'm looking for.

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Great Video Steve, I have the Z7 II, haven't had a chance to really use it unfortunately, I've purchased a lot of the Z S series Lens, where can I find information for your E-Book, I would very much like to read it to obtain additional information regarding my Z Camera

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Great review and insight. Got the Z6ii today from Nikon to test it out as a possible replacement for my D500. So far quite underwhelmed, especially with the ergonomics. Not being able to assign AF Areas Modes + AF On to buttons, and the relatively low framerate are quite an issue. Will give it a couple more days to see how it performs on birds in flight.

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    At 5:20 , about slide show in live view through evf … this can be changed ..choose the image review to monitor only.. that way you don’t get the slide show and can shoot continuously …. this will give you exposure view , just no slide view

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Adding too what you said Steve: “Nikon Ricci” in another video was very clear that the z6II is also a better video camera than the z7II even thought the latter uses the full width of the sensor. He said the z7II is heavily like skipped etc., and that the z6II for various other reasons made it actually “quite a bit better videocamera” and that he “would choose it over the z7II” for video every single time. I need to rewatch it again too get more details but it sounded very legitimate too me.

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Than you for the video Steve! I refer your practical in-depth videos multiple times for my photography.

    I recently upgraded from crop body D5100 to Z6II. I use the 200-500 f5.6 with FTZ for doing bird photography.

    There is one particular situation with which I struggle a lot. A small bird sitting on an electric wire overhead is a nightmare. Small meaning the size is well within the boundaries of auto focus ‘wide small’ area.

    In AF-C all the auto focus area modes ,including single point, fail to focus on the bird and go for the background instead.

    I then have two options:

    1. Try to find focus on the nearest electric pole or big enough area in the same focal plane. And then go back to the bird and somehow AF-C mode learns to see the bird.

    2. I switch to AF-S and go for pinpoint to increase my probability to acquire focus on the bird.

    The problem in both cases is that small birds are very restless and keep hopping. So, by the time I do these things I normally lose the shot.

    I don’t know if I am doing something wrong. Could you please share your experience and tips how you nail the focus in such a scenario.

    Thanxs
    Abby

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    This was a super helpful review! I'm not looking at replacing a D850, but rather deciding between purchasing a D850 and a z7ii. I primarily shoot wildlife (and almost exclusively stills rather than video). Any reason you'd give the edge to the z7ii? I'm kinda leaning toward a D850 for now, and in 5-10 years, I assume mirrorless tech will have evolved more to make the switch then and have it be a significant upgrade, while the DSLR technology is pretty peak in the D850. Also I have exclusively F mount lenses and am not super interested in investing in Z at this point, so would be entirely relying on the FTZ adapter with the z7ii.

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Hi Steve, I have a doubt, in my Z6ii, under control I couldn't find eye AF for animal and human ( as u shown in your video fn4 button)

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    So I've purchased a Z6ii and have been playing with it for a few weeks and honestly the 14fps with only single point AF vs 12fps with all AF modes is not a big deal for me, 12 fps is pretty awesome as it is. Also the slide show that you see in 14bit mode 9fps is a bit jumpy for my liking but 12fps in 12 bit and all AF modes you can pretty easily get used to tracking moving subjects without much trouble because the slideshow is coming in faster it just feels a lot closer to real time. I'm definitely not seeing the same Buffer performance as you though and I'm using a CFexpress card rated the same speed but mine isn't a Sony it's a ProGrade so that could be a factor (I know the rated performance isn't always what the card delivers). Lossless Compressed RAW at 12fps 12 bit I'm getting about 118 shots before the buffer backs up. At 5.5fps I'm getting very close to the 200 you posted though, about 188.

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Tested both, my old D4 vs the Z6 II with my Nikkor 500mm f4 G ED VR. The D4 killed the Z6II when it came to autofocus. 🤷🏻‍♂️. Gotta love D4, D4S and so on.

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    I am thinking of upgrading from a D5600. I really want full-frame and the ability to shoot portraits, landscape,s and some wildlife with possibly some street photography. What do you recommend?

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Hi Steve, excellent video presentation! I am very interested in what the April 26th firmware updates will deliver to improve the action focus tracking abilities of the Z7ii to at least equal the D850 or aiming higher to that of the Sony a9.
    Best wishes to you and your family, keep safe!

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Steve there is another firmware update coming on the Z cameras from Nikon around April 26th 2021 . I hope you will do a review on the firmware update . I have been waiting for Nikon to get the focus tracking up to par or at least close to Sony . Interested in A Z7II but it’s been the focus tracking for BIF that holds me back . Thank You

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Well, I suspect that the autofocus speed with this camera with your 600f4 vs 200-500 is probably to do with the current camera send out to the focus motor … with my D850 , the full cycle took less than 80 milliseconds in 400 f2.8 , but when couple with z72 , it was almost 1 second and 30 millisecond … almost same timing for 600 f4

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Excellent video! I just bought the Z7II (on backorder), but am keeping my D500. I do crop quite a lot so the higher MP will definitely help. Hope all goes well with your recovery.

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Excellent, Steve. I currently have a Z7 (Version one) and and a Z6 II, so I was happy to hear your opinions about the Z7 II. Thank you!

  • August 17, 2021 at 12:28
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    Hi Steve, as always great insight and trustworthy reviews. I have watched your channel for over 4 years now and I have found your books (downloads) a great resource. I ham shooting the D500 with 200-500 and loved its results, for the money. I notice you have mentioned you sometimes use a Sony a9II, Would this be a justifiable upgrade with a 100-400 + teleconverter or will the D500 and 200-500 still give me more pixels on the subject, ie better results. Thanks and stay safe.

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