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Advice on buying a lens? (Nikon)

Darmok N Jalad

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I just went to Amazon to show Mrs. Diver some of the reviews. It says they are temporarily out of stock. That really screws up the impulse buy.
One of my favorite reviews on Amazon is the 3 wolf, one moon T-shirt. The beauty of it all is that it is much more affordable than the Bigma rocket launcher.
 
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FocusAndEarnIt

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I'm so far extremely disappointed with the autofocusing function on the Z50 with the FTZ adapter with my 35mm f/1.8. I've only been able to test it in low light, but still the D7500 is doing many circles around it. Glad I have not returned the D7500. I splurged and decided to land on two lenses - the 35mm f/1.8 and a 24-70mm f/2.8 ($$$). Both are AF-S lenses and would require the FTZ adapter. Maybe the FTZ adapter will play nicer with the 24-70mm f/2.8, it comes in tomorrow. But right now I am unfortunately leaning towards returning the Z50. I can't afford Z lenses. I tried updating the firmware to the latest to see if that improved things, but so far not much. I LOVE being able to see the exposure in realtime, but I would rather have autofocus working correctly than that. I've also found that being able to use the display as the "viewfinder" so to speak is helpful in challenging shots where I would otherwise have to be laying on the floor, I can just tilt the screen up, lower my arms and shoot. I can technically do this on the D7500 with live view, but it works better on the Z50. The Z50 is also better for video hands down. Despite these advantages, I lean towards the D7500.
 
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mollyc

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I'm so far extremely disappointed with the autofocusing function on the Z50 with the FTZ adapter with my 35mm f/1.8. I've only been able to test it in low light, but still the D7500 is doing many circles around it. Glad I have not returned the D7500. I splurged and decided to land on two lenses - the 35mm f/1.8 and a 24-70mm f/2.8 ($$$). Both are AF-S lenses and would require the FTZ adapter. Maybe the FTZ adapter will play nicer with the 24-70mm f/2.8, it comes in tomorrow. But right now I am unfortunately leaning towards returning the Z50. I can't afford Z lenses. I tried updating the firmware to the latest to see if that improved things, but so far not much. I LOVE being able to see the exposure in realtime, but I would rather have autofocus working correctly than that. I've also found that being able to use the display as the "viewfinder" so to speak is helpful in challenging shots where I would otherwise have to be laying on the floor, I can just tilt the screen up, lower my arms and shoot. I can technically do this on the D7500 with live view, but it works better on the Z50. The Z50 is also better for video hands down. Despite these advantages, I lean towards the D7500.
The FTZ should not be a limiter in focus speed. It’s possible (and probable) that you need to play with the focus modes on the z50. This would be the case with any new body. Make sure each camera is set as closely as possible. AF-S vs AF-C. Single shot vs continuous. Etc.
 
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FocusAndEarnIt

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The FTZ should not be a limiter in focus speed. It’s possible (and probable) that you need to play with the focus modes on the z50. This would be the case with any new body. Make sure each camera is set as closely as possible. AF-S vs AF-C. Single shot vs continuous. Etc.
Good advice. I will try this. The Z50 just seems to search all over the place about half the time (and the other half it does great) where as the D7500 hones in pretty much perfectly every time.
 
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deep diver

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The Z50 just seems to search all over the place about half the time

Piggybacking on Molly's suggestion, this might have to do more specifically with the AF area settings. The greater the number of focal points (the wider the AF area), the more the camera has to take into account, and it might decide not to focus on the spot you want. The fewer the number, the more precise control you have.
 
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gkarris

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I'm so far extremely disappointed with the autofocusing function on the Z50 with the FTZ adapter with my 35mm f/1.8. I've only been able to test it in low light, but still the D7500 is doing many circles around it. Glad I have not returned the D7500. I splurged and decided to land on two lenses - the 35mm f/1.8 and a 24-70mm f/2.8 ($$$). Both are AF-S lenses and would require the FTZ adapter. Maybe the FTZ adapter will play nicer with the 24-70mm f/2.8, it comes in tomorrow. But right now I am unfortunately leaning towards returning the Z50. I can't afford Z lenses. I tried updating the firmware to the latest to see if that improved things, but so far not much. I LOVE being able to see the exposure in realtime, but I would rather have autofocus working correctly than that. I've also found that being able to use the display as the "viewfinder" so to speak is helpful in challenging shots where I would otherwise have to be laying on the floor, I can just tilt the screen up, lower my arms and shoot. I can technically do this on the D7500 with live view, but it works better on the Z50. The Z50 is also better for video hands down. Despite these advantages, I lean towards the D7500.

Make sure you have the latest camera and lens firmware updates...
 
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FocusAndEarnIt

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Well, when I started this thread I didn't expect myself to splurge and buy the 24-70mm f/2.8, but wow am I glad I did! I understand what you guys meant when buying the expensive one may pay off in the long run. This will very likely be my walk around lens due to its awesome versatility.

In terms of the Z50 and the D7500.

I've narrowed the issue down with the Z50. It's not the autofocus as much as its challenge of focusing in low light. The D7500 does circles around it. I've done some searching online and it may be a drawback of the mirrorless system. Does anyone have any thoughts or experience on the Z system in low light?
 
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mollyc

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There’s a way to help the low light thing but I’ll have to look up the setting. On my z6 it’s D8 but not sure the menus are the same in the z50.
 
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mollyc

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Okay try playing with toggling custom function D7/apply settings to live view. If you turn this off, your camera will work more like a dslr with the aperture all the way open. It lets more light in while shooting. Your EVF will not change as you change settings but it should help the AF to work faster in low light.

I turn this off when I shoot with studio strobes and it makes a huge difference. When I have a normal amount of light I use live view as intended.
 
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Hughmac

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Well, when I started this thread I didn't expect myself to splurge and buy the 24-70mm f/2.8, but wow am I glad I did! I understand what you guys meant when buying the expensive one may pay off in the long run. This will very likely be my walk around lens due to its awesome versatility.

In terms of the Z50 and the D7500.

I've narrowed the issue down with the Z50. It's not the autofocus as much as its challenge of focusing in low light. The D7500 does circles around it. I've done some searching online and it may be a drawback of the mirrorless system. Does anyone have any thoughts or experience on the Z system in low light?
I've not experienced any problems focusing in poor light with my Z50, but let us know what you were trying to photograph and in what conditions, and I'll try and reproduce it.
I do know that with the 35mm 1.8 I've had focus troubles in the past in bad light, and I still have one of those lenses available for testing.

Cheers :)

Hugh
 
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FocusAndEarnIt

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I'm really wondering if it's my FTZ adapter. It was dimly lit room shooting a picture of my dog on the floor about 6 or 7 feet away (just a test photo). Sounds like a tough shot but the D7500 was able to do it on the same settings. I tried changing the live view option that Molly suggested but that didn't seem to make a change. Sometimes the focus goes wildly out of focus and it doesn't know how to focus at all and I have to step in with the manual focus and then it goes back on track and finds a reasonable subject. This is true with the 35mm f/1.8 and the 24-70 f/2.8 Nikkor lenses. But it seems it's more of a all or or nothing thing with the FTZ adapter? It works or it doesn't? Most of the time, in proper light, it works excellent.

I'm really torn. How often am I going to be in these low light situations - I'm not sure, but I would like the versatility. The video that the Z50 captured last night in normal conditions was honestly absolutely gorgeous and stunning, which is very attractive to me. It autofocuses beautifully as my 13 month old flailed around. 😂 But I also think the most frequent video opportunities I'll have will be those impromptu family moments and my iPhone may be the primary shooter for those. I also really love the exposure in real time as I learn more of how to shoot good photos, but I'm sure I can continue to learn on a traditional dSLR (just less immediate gratification).

Here are the same pictures back to back - one where it could focus and another where it could not:

Z50
24 mm f/2.8
ISO 28,800 (auto)
Shutter speed: 1/125 (too fast I know... but also happens on slower shutter)

FYI - both pictures have underwear quickly photoshopped out from the right, LOL. It was a test pic! 😳😅🤪
DSC_0247.jpeg
DSC_0248.jpeg
 
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mollyc

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I'm really wondering if it's my FTZ adapter. It was dimly lit room shooting a picture of my dog on the floor about 6 or 7 feet away (just a test photo). Sounds like a tough shot but the D7500 was able to do it on the same settings. I tried changing the live view option that Molly suggested but that didn't seem to make a change. Sometimes the focus goes wildly out of focus and it doesn't know how to focus at all and I have to step in with the manual focus and then it goes back on track and finds a reasonable subject. This is true with the 35mm f/1.8 and the 24-70 f/2.8 Nikkor lenses. But it seems it's more of a all or or nothing thing with the FTZ adapter? It works or it doesn't? Most of the time, in proper light, it works excellent.

I'm really torn. How often am I going to be in these low light situations - I'm not sure, but I would like the versatility. The video that the Z50 captured last night in normal conditions was honestly absolutely gorgeous and stunning, which is very attractive to me. It autofocuses beautifully as my 13 month old flailed around. 😂 But I also think the most frequent video opportunities I'll have will be those impromptu family moments and my iPhone may be the primary shooter for those. I also really love the exposure in real time as I learn more of how to shoot good photos, but I'm sure I can continue to learn on a traditional dSLR (just less immediate gratification).

Here are the same pictures back to back - one where it could focus and another where it could not:

Z50
24 mm f/2.8
ISO 28,800 (auto)
Shutter speed: 1/125 (too fast I know... but also happens on slower shutter)

FYI - both pictures have underwear quickly photoshopped out from the right, LOL. It was a test pic! 😳😅🤪 View attachment 964193 View attachment 964194
I would not ever judge a camera's focusing ability on whether or not it could reliably focus at ISO 28k. I mean that is insane. It wasn't that long ago that ISO 3200 was maxing it out. You are well beyond low-light here. I have shot post-sunset photos on the beach and only hit like 12k on ISO.

Are you using an auto-AF mode? Or are you choosing your focal points? I am guessing you are in an auto-AF mode and if you need to shoot at ISO 28k it must be really, really dark. In darkness there is very little contrast for a camera to see to choose focus and since your dog is the same color as the floor, and in the dark the walls and doors will be similarly toned I am not at all surprised your camera loses focus.

I rarely shoot with auto AF modes. I never once used an auto AF mode on my D700 or D800. I have experimented with them a bit on my Z6, and I guess I did actually use them on at lacrosse tournament once, just to see how it worked. I know sports shooters like them, and for good reason with somewhat unpredictable framing. And once in awhile I try the eye/face AF if I do headshots of my kids. But honestly, for shooting a still image of your dog, just put it in Single Point AF and toggle your focal points. It takes the guess work out for the camera of where you want your focus to be. I personally use AF-C and Single Point and it really puts all the error of focus on me, not the camera.

I honestly don't think this is an FTZ issue. I think this is an ISO issue. Does your D7500 go that high in ISO? I would say in general my F mount lenses focus faster/better with the FTZ than they did on my older dSLRs.

It's hard to do a side by side test shot, but I'd suggest setting one camera up with the 24-70 at 35mm and f/2.8 and the other camera with your 35mm set at f/2.8 and shoot the same subject in the same lighting, making sure you are using similar focus modes. If you are in a spot that needs ISO 28k, I would anticipate both cameras to struggle, even at f/2.8. I would guess the camera with the 24-70 will have a slight edge to focusing because that is a higher end lens, but my 35mm has always been super fast at focusing.

Here is a quick rundown of the Z system focus modes.

 
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Hughmac

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As Molly says above, the light must be really bad to go to such a high ISO. My Z50 is limited to 3200 or 6400 when using auto ISO; in that sort of light I either use the onboard flash or get my external flash mounted.
Any lens will struggle to get focus in the dark with no lighting help.

I think it's just going to be a case of reading a lot and asking questions here, and you will eventually get the hang of the camera.

Cheers :)

Hugh
 
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gkarris

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Here's a post on fstoppers regarding the Z7 AF with an FTZ adapter:


Yin Ze JetCity Ninja - March 24, 2019
Here's a list from dpreview i don't have time to write it all as there are too many but if there is one thing colleagues have found lacking in z7 is af. i have Nikon DSLR system but use the Sony A9 with Sony/Zeiss lenses for a majority of my work now due to the silent shutter, iso performance, speed, and it's 4k video capabilities.... It was a business decision that has easily paid itself off.

AF system hunts in low light, due to limited sensitivity
Face detect less reliable than competition
AF Tracking less reliable than competition
AF Tracking cumbersome to engage/disengage
Touchscreen cannot be used for touchpad AF when using the EVF
Limited AF button customization
Significant rolling shutter in full-frame 4K footage
No live feed at 9fps
Live feed at 5.5fps suffers from significant drop in EVF refresh rate
Very limited buffer
Inconsistent metering, heavily weighted to AF point
On-sensor AF causes banding, slightly limiting usable dynamic range
Aggressive noise reduction at high ISO
Electronic first curtain shutter (EFCS) needed to avoid potential shutter shock (yet is off by default)
EFCS limits shutter speed to 1/2000
Two-Button-Reset and Quick Format actions missing
No linear response option for video shooters wishing to manual focus
Battery life on the short side
Single card slot
No flip-around screen for vlogging

if these are the limitations of the Nikon Z AF system, good thing I didn't bother to try it out - would've been a deal breaker for me - the Sony A6000 beats this...

Next week's Nikon 2nd Generation cameras will probably be very much improved...
 
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mollyc

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Here's a post on fstoppers regarding the Z7 AF with an FTZ adapter:




if these are the limitations of the Nikon Z AF system, good thing I didn't bother to try it out - would've been a deal breaker for me - the Sony A6000 beats this...
The AF system was upgraded considerably via firmware over the past few months, and well after that post in 2019 was written. I have not used Sony, and while I believe Sony likely still has a slight advantage in some situations, the Z series is very robust. Most internet searches maligning the Z focus system were from when the camera line was introduced, not after firmware version 3.0.


https://alikgriffin.com/sony-a7iii-vs-nikon-z6-the-blunt-truth/ (Z6 wins in this person's opinion)

Look, I'm not going to say that the Z system blows Sony out of the water. But it holds it's own definitely, and especially for macro/landscape/portrait photographers, people don't actually need blazing AF systems. Sports shooter? Sure. Birder catching BIF? Yep. But god almighty, any modern camera is going to run circles around cameras from five years ago.

It's great that you found a system that works for you, but just as I would not speak ill of Sony since I haven't tried it, until you actually use the Z system, probably best you not just decide it's crap.
 
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gkarris

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It's great that you found a system that works for you, but just as I would not speak ill of Sony since I haven't tried it, until you actually use the Z system, probably best you not just decide it's crap.

Nikon's definitely not crap, just not the value for the money, especially used. Since Nikon is new to the mirrorless game, their cameras and lenses are expensive (to recup their R&D costs), even used. Sony, on the other hand, has been doing it for so long, they have great deals in the used market. For aviation, my A6000 (used, $200, launched 2014) has no problems taking pics at 11fps with the "kit" zoom, which is too fast for the planes I take pics of, so I use the "mid" speed of 6fps. I got a Fuji X-T100 (used, $350, kit zoom: $200) which was introduced in 2018 and the A6000 runs circles around it. The X-T100 does okay at 6fp but the kit zoom struggles to keep up. It will do much better with a better zoom, but those are $600 used..

I'm talking that Sony right now used is great value for money.
 
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dimme

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Is the 24 to 70 a FX lens? if so could the issue with the focusing be caused by using a FX lens on a DX body?
 
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Clix Pix

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Nikon's definitely not crap, just not the value for the money, especially used. Since Nikon is new to the mirrorless game, their cameras and lenses are expensive (to recup their R&D costs), even used. Sony, on the other hand, has been doing it for so long, they have great deals in the used market. For aviation, my A6000 (used, $200, launched 2014) has no problems taking pics at 11fps with the "kit" zoom, which is too fast for the planes I take pics of, so I use the "mid" speed of 6fps. I got a Fuji X-T100 (used, $350, kit zoom: $200) which was introduced in 2018 and the A6000 runs circles around it. The X-T100 does okay at 6fp but the kit zoom struggles to keep up. It will do much better with a better zoom, but those are $600 used..

I'm talking that Sony right now used is great value for money.

I would also say that in my not-so-humble opinion, Sony new (albeit expensive) is also great value for the money. More than worth it -- at least for me! Over the past ten months and counting I have shot quite a few images with which I am more than pleased. The quality of Sony's already established, still-growing but also fairly complete collection of APS-C and Full-Frame lenses and bodies seems to be quite outstanding and that is obviously a huge and important benefit to users, whether they are buying a new lens or a gently-used one. Since Sony has been at the helm of the mirrorless game for quite some time now, yes, they do have a noteworthy advantage over other manufacturers who are still scrambling to catch up. Fortunately, they have also ensured that providing quality, along with quantity, is part of their continued strategy in the marketplace.

It looks as though 2021 may be another big year for photographers, as there are rumors that both Sony and Nikon will be coming out with new "flagship" full-frame models aimed at the professional market (with accompanying price tag$$). This is going to be interesting to watch.....
 
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Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
That's fine if someone has fairly recent lenses to mount on the FTZ and also was perfectly happy with the selection of native lenses that were offered by Nikon in the beginning or at the time of purchase of the particular Z body and lens(es)...... For me it was a very different scenario, since I had a lot of older Nikon lenses that would not work with the FTZ at all or they would kinda/sorta do so, but only in manual focus mode, which was not acceptable to me. I'm older and my eyes are older! :) Just wait ten or fifteen years and you'll see (literally) what I mean.... Autofocus is my friend and has been for a while now.

Aside from that, even if I had chosen to go with Nikon and the Z system I would've potentially ended up buying additional lenses anyway -- as well as back prior to November 2019 I did not have a 100-400mm or a 200-600mm lens, and Nikon's offering then and I think still currently? of a 200-500mm which would've needed the FTZ adapter was already an older lens and I wouldn't have wanted to purchase it nor was I interested in any sort of third-party equivalent lens released more currently. I did know that since I have so many opportunities where I live to get wildlife (waterfowl, mostly) shots that at least one or two longer lenses would be assets, preferably lenses which could be carried around and hand-held. (Not long after I had purchased it, the Sony 200-600 [AKA "The Bazooka"] quickly reminded me of that lesson! Oops.....)

Back in the day, I had the wonderful Nikon 300mm f/2.8 prime for a while, but that was a heavy lens that always needed to be on the tripod. Nikon's newer, current PF prime lenses are really cool, but they are not as flexible as zooms and, well, they're not native to the Z system and so once again they'd have to go on the adapter. As far as I know right now, Nikon still has not brought out any long lens native to their Z system. Fine, if some people have the time and the patience to wait.....

When I was in the midst of all my analyzing and such, though, much of my primary concern was macro and closeup photography and native lenses which could handle that. Nikon still has not released a native macro lens, has it, for the Z system? That's really unfortunate for macro lovers. Does the 105mm macro work well with the FTZ adapter? (If I recall correctly, my beloved 60mm macro would not, it would have converted to a manual-focus-only lens which I found frustrating.) I've seen a few examples on Nikon Cafe which suggest that the 105mm macro does do nicely on the FTZ, indeed. I haven't seen many examples on MR, though..... Instead, I have noticed a lot of reliance on the Lensbaby products: why is that?

As I've already mentioned in this post and in previous ones, for rather a long time I did a lot of research and a lot of thinking, analyzing to death the pros and cons of this-and-that even before Nikon arrived on the scene with its new mirrorless Z system.....and I did a lot more analyzing and thinking for another few months before finally arriving at a conclusion and a decision which was right for me. I did my extensive homework, finally decided it was time to take action, and at last just took the leap and did so. It was not easy finally just saying, "OK, this is what I'm going to do." I had to set aside loyalty to a brand that I had embraced for a very, very long time. I had used and loved Nikon for years and years -- from the early 1970's if I recall correctly -- but it was clear to me that it was now time to move on, hard as it might be. I had to set emotional/sentimental stuff aside, just deal with the practicalities of what I wanted now in late 2019 and into 2020 and beyond, and how I might best achieve it..... Je ne regrette rien, but boy, it was not easy getting from there to here! I am so loving my current gear and going through all the anguish to get here was indeed, really worth it......

When it comes to choices of gear and systems, of course every photographer's mileage is going to vary, choices will be made one way or another way, there may be trial-and-error, experiments with different approaches, different systems, occasionally some buyer's remorse or some buyer's elation..... Not to mention of course budgetary considerations.

There are so many things which come into play, and that's fine, that's what makes the world go around......
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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To OP, regarding your results, are you shooting single point/single area focus in low light? Sorry if I missed that part. I think wide area or multi-point focus can be a lot less reliable in this situation. If I were in this scenario, I’d for sure want a smaller focus point. It puts you in more control over the camera anyway.

As for the brand criticism, I’ve shot Canon, Sony, Nikon, Panasonic and Olympus, and I have gotten winners out of all of them. I’ve also been frustrated by all of them at times. We’re all capturing light here, and I don’t see the need to disparage a brand that didn’t work out for me. It’s buyers choice.
 
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