Nikon D6 camera review for wildlife photography by Steve Perry

Steve Perry (Facebook | YouTube | IG) posted his Nikon D6 camera review from the perspective of wildlife photography (see also this page for more info):

Below are a section of images I captured over the last five weeks or so using the D6. I just checked and I'm now well over 18,000 photos through this camera! It's been a solid, reliable performer every step of the way and I have to say, I'm especially enjoying the new AF system.

These images were from a variety of locations as noted at the beginning of the video. I wanted to put the camera to the test with more than just a single type of wildlife subject so I could really see how it performed. Overall, I gotta say, it's a keeper!

Captions:


We were lucky enough to spot this eagle on a small pond on the borders of Lamar Valley in YNP. Just prior to this shot he was perched on another rock. However, as I watched the cell-phone photographers close in on him I knew I was about to capture a flight shot. Luckily, he landed on a relatively nearby rock. The 14FPS frame rate, huge buffer (he was flying quite a bit before this shot) and 7×7 Group AF area all proved invaluable for this one! D6, 600mm F/4 + 1.4TC, 1/3200, F/5.6, ISO 5000.


This elk calf was minding her own business when a bird decided to perch on her back. I’d witnessed this before and knew the calves didn’t like it, so I swung the camera around, focused, and started shooting just as the bird took off. I love her expression on this one. D6, 180-400 @ 550mm, 1/1000th, ISO 1100


I love photographing wild horses in Theodore Rosevelt NP and we were fortunate enough to run across a small, cooperative group in really great light on our last evening. I was super happy to get the adult and foal together as they looked towards the camera. D6, 180-400 @ 220mm, 1/500th, F/5.6, ISO 2200.


This little lamb was busy playing with his sibling when they noticed mom had wandered off towards the rest fo the group. He immediately started running towards her - and right in front go the camera. I really like the little flower right in the middle and I think the 14FPS frame rate was to thank for that one. D6, 180-400 @ 400mm, 1/2500th, F/4.5, ISO 3200


This Red-Tail Hawk was perched happily on this rock and we were able to get a few nice portraits of him. Not surprisingly, a couple of tourists spotted us in the field and decided they needed to get closer – and we prepared for the inevitable flight shot. As I mention in the video, the D6 seems noticeably better than the D5 (or any other Nikon I’ve used) at nailing these takeoff shots – even with a TC attached! D6, 600mm F/4 + 1.4TC, F/5.6, 1/4000, ISO 1400


We called him the Marmot Super-Model. I loved the little pose he gave us here. This is one of those times any camera would do – however – it’s good to have a camera that can handle both the easy and the tough stuff. After all, sometimes the easy stuff can turn into tuff stuff in the blink of an eye! D6, 600mm F/4, + 1.4TC, 1/1000, F/5.6, ISO 220


Believe it or not, a high frame rate can sometimes help with relatively simple shots. I have several of this pose, but I liked the tail and mane position of this one the best. D6, 70-200 @ 140mm, 1/500th, F/5.6, ISO 450


Early in our trip we were lucky enough to find a red naped sapsucker nest. Luckily, they didn’t care about us hanging around one bit and were constantly going back and forth feeding the crying babies. This was also a really high ISO shot – 20,000 (I needed speed and DoF). Some careful noise reduction cleaned it right up. D6, 600mm F/4 + 1.4TC, 1/5000th, F/8, ISO 20,000.


I normally only shoot elk in the fall, but we were lucky enough to spend a couple of mornings with these velvety bulls. It’s weird to see them being nice to each other – I should try them in July more often 🙂 D6, 600mm F/4, 1/1000th, F/5.6, ISO 5600


We were lucky enough to encounter a large group of magpies in a Yellowstone meadow (I think there were nests in the vicinity). I waited forever for this one to take off, but I do like the result. I think this is one place where DSLRs have the edge over mirrorless – I’ve found that looking through EVFs for long periods isn’t as pleasant as an optical viewfinder – and can really take a toll on batteries. D6, 600mm + 1.4TC, F/7.1, 1/4000, ISO 1000.


This little guy was playing with his sibling and at one point leapt about six feet straight up! Not sure how I had the presence of mind to keep the AF area on him, but the D6 sure didn't miss a beat. This was at the apex of the jump. D6, 180-400 @ 370mm, 1/1600th, F/4, ISO 5600.


We also had a few nice mountain goat encounters as well. I really liked the way the D6 rendered the colors on this one. I also used Recall Shooting with this image since I had the camera’s normal shooting mode set for more action-oriented opportunities. D6, 180-400 @ 400mm, 1/800th, F/4, ISO 250.


These little tree swallows are tough subjects – it’s challenging just to keep them in the viewfinder with long glass hanging off the front. Still, overall I was fairly happy with the keeper rate from the D6 with these fast-moving birds. D6, 600mm, 1/4000th, F/4, ISO 10,000


Say what you like about using nearly $20K in gear to photograph chipmunks, but I still love his goofy pose! D6, 600mm F/4 + 1.4TC, 1/1250, F/5.6, ISO 180.


If you watched the video, you know what happened here LOL! D6, 1/500th, F/5.6, ISO 400


Birds flying right at the camera are always tricky for any AF system, but the D6 with the 5×5 Group area did just fine. D6, 600mm F/4 + 1.4TC, F/5.6, 1/4000th, ISO 1250


This bison seemed to enjoy the flowers at sunset. No real trick for the D6 or any camera, but not every shot is an action shot. D6, 600mm F/4, 1/640th, F/5.6, ISO 4000.


I hate to admit it, but until this trip I didn’t know yellow-headed blackbirds even existed. Once I spotted the first specimen, I knew I needed a flight shot. We spent a couple of early evenings at this little pond photographing them as they flew over the vegetation. I even got this one to look at me as I fired away 🙂 D6, 600mm F/4 + 1.4TC, 1/4000th, F/8, ISO 2200


Remember that yellow-headed blackbird from the last pic? They were hunting these! Now and then one would get close enough for a pic and I could usually talk Group AF into locking on. As a Star Wars fan, I like that he was going full X-Wing :).
D6, 600mm F/4 + 1.4TC, 1/4000th, F/8, ISO 2200


The 14 FPS offered by the D6 actually helped here. The grass was blowing in front of this little lamb’s face, so I took a longer burst in hopes of catching a few clear shots – and thankfully I did. D6, 500PF, F/5.6, ISO 3200 (recall shooting again – it let me go from action shots to portraits without missing a beat).

If you have an interesting idea for a guest post, you can contact me here. Previous coverage of the Nikon D6 can be found here.

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