Use the Nikon D7100 or Nikon D780 for long range wildlife shots?

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Chuck 10108 New Member • Posts: 7
Use the Nikon D7100 or Nikon D780 for long range wildlife shots?

I’m wondering what camera body to use, a crop sensor Nikon D7100 or a full frame Nikon D780, with a Tamron 150-600 F5-6.3 Zoom for long range wildlife shots. This is for shooting sandhill cranes as they return from feeding in the corn fields to bedding down for the night in the marsh. Shots are at a long distance, from 30 meters to 150 meters (due to being limited to shooting from the park’s access roads). The cranes fly in starting about an hour before dusk. In the past we’ve used the zoom, at 600mm full zoom, with the crop sensor Nikon D7100 body. We now also have a full frame Nikon D780.

Since the cranes are so far away, we’d most likely have to crop the D780 photos to get the FOV the same as what we were getting with the D7100. The D7100 is 24.1M pixels, the D780 is 24.5M pixels but if cropped to a DX FOV the image would be 10.9M pixels. So, we’d lose resolution with the D780. However, the light sensitivity of the D780 is 4x better than the D7100 (which could be helpful at dusk especially with the cranes in flight or moving in the marsh).

What’s the recommendation: Use the crop sensor D7100 or the full frame D780?

Thanks!

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Nikon D7100
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