Wildlife Photography: The Nikon Z5 + Nikon AF-S 500mm f/5.6 PF ED VR
As mirrorless cameras continue to grow in popularity, Nikon has entered the market with their Z series cameras. The Nikon Z5 is a full-frame mirrorless camera that is aimed at entry-level photographers. Paired with the FTZ adapter and AF-S 500mm f/5.6 PF ED VR lens, it is a capable setup for wildlife photography. Let’s take a closer look at each component.
The Nikon Z5 features a 24.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and an Expeed 6 image processor. It has a native ISO range of 100-51,200 and can shoot at up to 4.5 frames per second. The autofocus system features 273 phase-detection points and can focus down to -3.5 EV. The Z5 also includes in-body image stabilization (IBIS) that compensates for up to 5 stops of camera shake. It has a tilting 3.2-inch LCD touchscreen and an electronic viewfinder. The camera body weighs 675g and is weather-sealed.
The Nikon Z5 retails for around $1,399, making it less expensive than the Nikon Z6 and Sony A7 III.
Nikon FTZ Adapter
The FTZ adapter allows Nikon F-mount lenses to be used on Nikon Z-mount cameras. It supports autofocus and full aperture control for AF-S and AF-P lenses, as well as in-body VR for lenses that have it. The adapter is made of magnesium alloy and weighs 135g.
The FTZ adapter retails for around $249, making it less expensive than other comparable adapters on the market.
Nikon AF-S 500mm f/5.6 PF ED VR Lens
The AF-S 500mm f/5.6 PF ED VR is a super-telephoto prime lens designed for wildlife and sports photography. It features a Phase Fresnel (PF) element that helps to reduce the overall size and weight of the lens. The lens also includes VR (Vibration Reduction) that compensates for up to 4.5 stops of camera shake. It has a minimum focusing distance of 3.5m and a 95mm filter thread. The lens weighs 1460g.
The Nikon AF-S 500mm f/5.6 PF ED VR lens retails for around $3,599, making it less expensive than other comparable super-telephoto lenses on the market.
Weight as a choice factor:
While the Nikon Z5 is relatively lightweight at 675g, the combination of the FTZ adapter and AF-S 500mm f/5.6 PF ED VR lens brings the total weight to 2,260g. This may be a consideration for photographers who will be carrying this setup for extended periods of time.
Overall Pros and Cons
- The Nikon Z5 is a capable full-frame mirrorless camera with in-body image stabilization.
- The FTZ adapter allows Nikon F-mount lenses to be used on Nikon Z-mount cameras, expanding the lens options available.
- The AF-S 500mm f/5.6 PF ED VR lens is relatively lightweight and less expensive than comparable super-telephoto lenses.
- The Nikon Z5’s autofocus system may not be as advanced as some other cameras in its class.
- The FTZ adapter may not work as well with older or third-party lenses.
- The AF-S 500mm f/5.6 PF ED VR lens has a maximum aperture of f/5.6, which may limit its use in low-light conditions.
Overall, the combination of the Nikon Z5 Mirrorless Camera, Nikon FTZ adapter, and Nikon AF-S 500mm f/5.6 PF ED VR lens provides an excellent setup for wildlife photography, especially for those on a budget. The camera’s in-body image stabilization, the adapter’s ability to use F-mount lenses, and the lens’s lightweight and relatively affordable price point make this combination a great option for photographers looking to capture stunning images of wildlife. However, it’s worth noting that the autofocus system may not be as advanced as some other cameras in its class, and the maximum aperture of the lens may limit its use in low-light conditions.