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Nikon D850 onto Nikon Z8?


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Hi everyone,

It's been in the back of my mind for about 6 months now whether I should save towards making the switch from my DSLR (Nikon D850) to mirrorless. The more natural transition would be to Nikon Z8 of which I read good reviews about. The investment is obviously large, to the point that I could go other brands as well. Not a Canon person, but Sony has it nice. What I am looking for is thoughts from folks that are shooting Nikon Z8, the pluses and minuses (particularly the minuses). I am well aware of the reviews from Alex Mustard, but wanted to hear more opinions.

Thank you!

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I am currently transitioning from a D850 to the Z8, both in Nauticam housings. I've had the Z8 a couple of months now, but just got the new housing a couple of weeks ago. Mostly it's all about learning the new focusing modes and the EVF with the Z8. A lot of the shooting is similar to the D850.

 

The autofocus improvements and being able to both shoot and preview the shot without moving away from the EVF are the biggest changes. One of my goals with getting the Z8 was the ability to use a WWL-C wet lens, which I dove with today for the first time. I've not even had time to review the photos yet, but it was very nice ergonomically. A compact and lightweight setup compared to a 16-35 in a big dome, and better quality as well. More on this after I've used it a few more times.

 

I don't expect to see "improved" images out of the Z8, but taking advantage of the capabilities of the mirrorless tech and lasted electronics has been very satisfying so far. I'll also be using the Z8 for wildlife photography about water, and there are (maybed even bigger) advances in that scenario.

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12 hours ago, Dave_Hicks said:

I am currently transitioning from a D850 to the Z8, both in Nauticam housings. I've had the Z8 a couple of months now, but just got the new housing a couple of weeks ago. Mostly it's all about learning the new focusing modes and the EVF with the Z8. A lot of the shooting is similar to the D850.

 

The autofocus improvements and being able to both shoot and preview the shot without moving away from the EVF are the biggest changes. One of my goals with getting the Z8 was the ability to use a WWL-C wet lens, which I dove with today for the first time. I've not even had time to review the photos yet, but it was very nice ergonomically. A compact and lightweight setup compared to a 16-35 in a big dome, and better quality as well. More on this after I've used it a few more times.

 

I don't expect to see "improved" images out of the Z8, but taking advantage of the capabilities of the mirrorless tech and lasted electronics has been very satisfying so far. I'll also be using the Z8 for wildlife photography about water, and there are (maybed even bigger) advances in that scenario.

Thanks so much! It is indeed the autofocus that I am primarily want to switch for. In terms of weight of the setup, I assume they are nearly identical? 

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43 minutes ago, Silvana said:

Thanks so much! It is indeed the autofocus that I am primarily want to switch for. In terms of weight of the setup, I assume they are nearly identical? 

The Z8+housing is a couple of ounces heavier, so nearly the same. However, the full Z8 rig with a WWL-C is a lot lighter and more compact than the D850 with a 16-35 and 8.5" dome with its big 70mm extension ring.

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Here are a couple of photos from the Z8 + WWL-C for example. Taken on yesterday's dive to Saltwater State Park south of Seattle.

 

These are not the most interesting photos ever, but they show some good detail at both Wide and Zoom ends of the range. The 24-50mm lens results in an 81-130mm equivalent behind the port. 

 

Wide: (a very pregnant rockfish - there is much less distortion in the upper left corner than a 16-35, closer to a good fisheye combo)

 

Saltwater State Park February 04, 2024 (73 of 92).jpg

 

Zoom: (Giant Pacific Octopus tentacle - Corners still pretty good, fantastic detail in the suckers.)

 

image.jpeg

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Dave: Thanks for sharing these photos. They look great! I'm impressed with the sharpness of the WWL-C lens.

 

Your experience so far is further proof that my decision to switch from DSLR (Nikon D800E in my case) to the Z8 with WWL-C was the right one. Can't wait to get in the water with the new rig in Raja Ampat next month!

 

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I have only used a D850 for about three weeks of diving (it was not my own camera) and now had the Z8 for a trip to the Red Sea.

 

First, there won't be a noticeable difference in the basic image quality. However, the new Z lenses perform very good and better than their F-mount counterparts. 

The biggest practical difference in using the two cameras will be the EVF.

 

For me the decision would be based on the use case:

If you shoot mainly macro subjects, the EVF is a big advantage, as might the AF. Also you can use the new Z105mm macro lens.

However, if you shoot mainly wide-angle, there a some pro and cons to both cameras. There is no Z-mount Fisheye, so you will be using the same lens as on the D850. Also you can check exposure and strobe positioning directly in the EVF as you review your shot. Shooting fast moving subjects without strobes (dolphins, sea lions) at the surface might benefit from the higher frame rate and blackout free shooting of the Z8. 

But there is also a downside to the EVF: in high contrast scenes I much preferred the optical viewfinder of the D850. Also battery life is good on the Z8 but nowhere near the D850, so you will end up changing batteries (and open the housing) more often.

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For what it's worth, Ikelite's weekly newsletter has a write-up from a Nikon D850 user who recently moved to a Nikon Z8. The writer is enthusiastic about the Z8. His article might be worth a look if one is considering making a move from a D850 to a Z8. It's available on the Ikelite Underwater Systems website.

 

-Tinman 

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