Nikon D500 and Tamron 100-400mm

Started 3 months ago | User reviews
vcxz Regular Member • Posts: 103
Nikon D500 and Tamron 100-400mm
2

Like many, I've been struggling to find the "perfect" setup for wildlife. Granted I'm just a hobbyist and not worried about extra large prints. Also my standard for sharpness is probably lower than most people on the forum. I was more concerned with finding the right balance of image quality and portability. I think I've finally settled on the D500 and the Tamron 100-400mm.

Zoom versus prime

I started out using a D850 and the 500mm PF and I still love it. But the prime is less flexible. I actually feel more comfortable taking it out in everyday situations like a local park because I'm less concerned about "missing" shots. If I'm making a special trip somewhere, I would like the flexibility of a zoom. For instance, the shot below of the small heron on the railing is at 100mm, I would have missed it or would have had to run very quickly to get it with the 500mm PF.

I picked the Tamron 100-400 because I already had the tap-in console, it was relatively cheap, and I had good experiences with their other lenses. The whole setup is small and fits into a small camera backpack, whereas the 500mm PF is just an inch or two too big. It's actually smaller than my old Fuji 100-400mm setup, has much better autofocus, buffer, battery life, and in my opinion image quality.

D850 versus D500

Cropping and buffer

I switched to the D500 for wildlife partly because I was always in crop mode in the D850. When I was shooting small birds, I would generally not come close to filling the frame, so I'd switch to DX mode to save on memory card space, which can fill up fast with burst mode. But it was annoying always having the "useless" borders in the viewfinder and switching between DX and FX was one more thing to worry about.

I also enjoyed the D500's superior buffer. Frequently I'd see a bird take off, get it in my viewfinder, spam the shutter button and hit my buffer just as I've locked on autofocus. Not a problem with the D500. The 10 FPS versus 7 FPS is nice to have too but I think the endless buffer is more important.

100-400mm versus 150-600mm

So assuming I'm going with the flexibility of the zoom, there's a choice between effective focal length of 100-400mm with the D850 and 150-600mm in the D500. With wildlife, I think it's more likely that you'll need longer focal lengths, so I don't really care as much about 100-150mm.

I know you can crop a D850, but why bother? I'd rather just zoom with the D500 and do minimal cropping in post. With a similar pixel pitch, I'm not convinced the D850 would have better image quality. I also don't have to worry about switching between FX and DX mode or always working with the cropped viewfinder in DX mode on the D850. I think the "D850 is better for wildlife for cropping" is more valid versus a D6 type camera that is ~20 megapixels full frame.

Lens roles

So after all of this, you'd think I'd sell the 500mm PF? No way! My conclusion is if you can only take one lens (I do more hiking type photography than from a gimbal), I'll take the D500 and the Tamron 100-400mm. It's small and image quality is great by my standards.

If I can have two bodies, like I could at Yellowstone where I was traveling mostly by car, I will try to take shots first the the 500mm PF and D850 because if you can fill the frame, the images are amazing, like the bald eagle below. Then I'll have a zoom for backup.

D500 and Tamron 100-400mm image samples

D850 and 500mm PF

D500 for general travel

Not too bad! I guess the body is a little big and you could probably get similar image quality with the D5600 or equivalent. But it's also easier to just bring one body. I think DX is fine for general city travel if you're not doing some world famous landmarks.

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 vcxz's gear list:vcxz's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon D5600 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm F2.8G ED +16 more
Nikon D500
21 megapixels • 3.2 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Jan 5, 2016
vcxz's score
5.0
Average community score
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Nikon D500 Nikon D5600 Nikon D850
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ddc2020 Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Nikon D500 and Tamron 100-400mm

Nice pictures, I also have a 100-400 mm and love it.  I am also looking to go for a D500, so like to see this and get field feedback.

I do have one question though: you mention 100-400 vs 150-600 and the extra reach but you still went for the 100-400 on your D500. Any particular reason why?

Alain

 ddc2020's gear list:ddc2020's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon D500 Nikon D5600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G +5 more
OP vcxz Regular Member • Posts: 103
Re: Nikon D500 and Tamron 100-400mm

ddc2020 wrote:

Nice pictures, I also have a 100-400 mm and love it. I am also looking to go for a D500, so like to see this and get field feedback.

I do have one question though: you mention 100-400 vs 150-600 and the extra reach but you still went for the 100-400 on your D500. Any particular reason why?

Alain

I was talking about full frame equivalent with the APSC crop factor. The 150-600 lens is bigger than I’d like for hand carrying but I’d be open to getting it on sale.

So the 100-400mm lens is 100-400mm on the D850 and 150-600mm full frame equivalent on the D500. The D850 can replicate the D500 either with cropping or shooting in DX mode, so I’ve seen people say they would rather use the D850. I think this is a stronger argument if you use a lot of prime lenses.

The D850 is stronger at 100-150mm where the D500 can’t reach. Then if you can fill the FX frame on the D850 it will be better as well. But I was often shooting the D850 in crop mode anyway because birds were so far away, so I didn’t think there’d be a difference in image quality and liked the D500 buffer and not having to deal with the smaller viewfinder area in DX mode on the D850.

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Instagram: @vcxz_photos

 vcxz's gear list:vcxz's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon D5600 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm F2.8G ED +16 more
CMCM Senior Member • Posts: 5,887
Re: Nikon D500 and Tamron 100-400mm

ddc2020 wrote:

Nice pictures, I also have a 100-400 mm and love it. I am also looking to go for a D500, so like to see this and get field feedback.

I do have one question though: you mention 100-400 vs 150-600 and the extra reach but you still went for the 100-400 on your D500. Any particular reason why?

Alain

I have the Sigma 100-400, which I really like a lot. I've been using it with my D7500, but just decided to buy the D500 for its superior AF system.....I rented one a couple of weeks ago and that was it, I saw a noticeable improvement with the D500 in a number of areas, fell in love with the camera.

A couple of years ago, I spent a lot of time considering the Tamron 150-600 G2 and the 200-500 Nikon, but weight was a major factor in my ultimate decision to get the much smaller and lighter 100-400. It's so easy to use and carry around, and fits mounted in my camera bag. There are times when I wish I had more than 400mm, but to be honest, 500mm or 600 mm often would have come up short too. My favorite photos have all been within the 400mm range anyway, sometimes with a bit of cropping. I've found it's better to get closer to your subject, within reason of course.

To indulge my ability to shoot much farther away subjects (preferably not flying birds, though), I've got a Nikon P950 with its 2000mm equivalent lens.  It can be quite good if the light is adequate.  And sometimes, I wish for more than 2000mm!!  There's also a P1000 with a 3000mm equivalent lens!   By comparison, my 400mm lens, or the 500mm or 600mm lenses I rented, all come up a bit short!

 CMCM's gear list:CMCM's gear list
Fujifilm X30 Nikon D500 Canon G7 X II Nikon Coolpix P950 Nikon D700 +18 more
da7329 Contributing Member • Posts: 658
Re: Nikon D500 and Tamron 100-400mm

Some nice looking shots.  I was thinking about a d850  but if I ended up shooting it in DX mode most of the time my D500 is just a good and I have my d750 for FF.  I have both the tamron and sigma 100-400’s.  With my copies the tamron is a little better on the D500.  Many times I have one 100-400 on the D500 and one on the d750.  If I can get a good shot with the d750 that will be my first choice as the pictures just look better.

DA

Brev00
Brev00 Forum Pro • Posts: 10,716
Re: Nikon D500 and Tamron 100-400mm

I have had the Tamron 100-400 for about a year and 3/4 and have enjoyed its versatility.  I just got a D500 to take advantage of the crop factor and excellent af system.  But, I have been enjoying the D500 for all sorts of shots.  Not many birds around right now anyway.  Here are a couple using the Tamron 100-400.  A little color processing with this one.  I think the bokeh is pretty good. When there are no birds, just shoot the bird bath!

Squirrels are having a field day recently.

But, I have been using other lenses with it.  Tamron 35 1.8:

Sigma 70.  The great spread of af points really helps with these sorts of closeups.

Nikon 28-105

And Tamron 150-600 G2:

I have seen no reason to relegate the camera to bird shots.  It took a while for my D610 to get back in my hands.

 Brev00's gear list:Brev00's gear list
Nikon D40 Nikon D90 Nikon D610 Nikon D500 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D +10 more
JasonN42 New Member • Posts: 21
Re: Nikon D500 and Tamron 100-400mm
1

Great shots! The Tammy 100-400 is fantastic bang for the buck. I bought one after my Nikon 70-300 VR broke in half spontaneously (I took it out of my backpack and the front half literally came off in my hand, no rough handling, no drops). I'm using it with a D300 and would love to upgrade to a D500 soon. Even on the D300, it performs pretty admirably, I was able to track and capture dragonflies in flight at Lassen Volcanic National Park over the summer. Not an easy feat.

ddc2020 Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Nikon D500 and Tamron 100-400mm

I got my D500 last week.  Unfortunately it's been very cloudy and dark since, so have not been able to test it on birds without going into +10000 ISO and am I not so happy with the results yet. I combined it with the Tamron 100-400.

I have been struggling with the AF but I guess that due to on one side lack of experience with the D500 and other side the low light conditions/

Really hope to get more light so I can try it out for real and hopefully get results like yours

Alain

 ddc2020's gear list:ddc2020's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon D500 Nikon D5600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G +5 more
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