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New camera resolution question
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Nov 25, 2021 10:40:11   #
Geosailor Loc: Rockport, Maine
 
I'm in the market for a new camera - the attached was recently taken with a D7000 using a 16-80mm AF-S Nikkor DX zoom at 80mm - from roughly 50 or so feet away. This particular picture was one of 40 or 50 exposures of the subject at various f-stops, etc. - and IMHO was the best I could do. But, setting aside the intended depth-of-field blur in the foreground and background, the eagle itself has some room for improvement in resolution.

I'm considering upgrading to either the second generation version of the Z6 or Z7, but I just don't have enough experience to have a "gut-feel" on whether the lower cost Z6 II (with an FX lens at 80mm) would provide the improvement I'm looking for, loosely defined as "holy cow, I had no idea!" - versus the more expensive Z7 II. I've no need to chase resolution for its own sake - nor do I print poster-size photographs, but if the Z7 II is the right answer, so be it. I'm just your typical enthusiast who hikes around Maine and occasionally runs across subjects or landscapes that deserve a photograph and would like to see some demonstrable improvement in resolution over my current equipment.

I've got some older Nikon FX glass - so I'd like to stick with that brand. I also realize I'm asking a subjective question, but with most comparisons of the two cameras mired in technical cha-cha that I'm not experienced enough to understand, I need it dumbed-down to my level. And because I don't have access to these cameras for real-world comparative analysis, I'm left with getting opinions from folks with more experience. Thanks much.


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Nov 25, 2021 11:11:33   #
Tomfl101 Loc: Mount Airy, MD
 
At 16 megapixels and DX format on your D7000 you could do better with a full frame camera and 20+ megapixels. But resolution is only relevant and important if you enlarge beyond 20 inches and view closer than 2 feet or so. Higher resolution would allow you to crop in more and force more attention on the eagle. Whenever possible moving closer and or using a longer lens would be the best alternative to higher resolution. Z series mirrorless cameras however offer higher res and allot more. The focus on mirrorless is much more accurate for one. If I were you I’d go for the most camera you can afford.

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Nov 25, 2021 11:20:03   #
photoman43
 
The issue may involve more than just resolution. I looked at the image of the eagle in the trees. It appears that the sharpest parts of the image are the pine branches near the eagle, not the eagle's face. This matter can be a very common occurrence which is solved by using better focusing techniques, often involving manual focus to get the bird's face in proper focus. Also see if similar shots taken at different apertures with greater depth of field have better results.

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Nov 25, 2021 11:21:47   #
Fotoartist Loc: Detroit, Michigan
 
Geosailor wrote:
I'm in the market for a new camera - the attached was recently taken with a D7000 using a 16-80mm AF-S Nikkor DX zoom at 80mm - from roughly 50 or so feet away. This particular picture was one of 40 or 50 exposures of the subject at various f-stops, etc. - and IMHO was the best I could do. But, setting aside the intended depth-of-field blur in the foreground and background, the eagle itself has some room for improvement in resolution.

I'm considering upgrading to either the second generation version of the Z6 or Z7, but I just don't have enough experience to have a "gut-feel" on whether the lower cost Z6 II (with an FX lens at 80mm) would provide the improvement I'm looking for, loosely defined as "holy cow, I had no idea!" - versus the more expensive Z7 II. I've no need to chase resolution for its own sake - nor do I print poster-size photographs, but if the Z7 II is the right answer, so be it. I'm just your typical enthusiast who hikes around Maine and occasionally runs across subjects or landscapes that deserve a photograph and would like to see some demonstrable improvement in resolution over my current equipment.

I've got some older Nikon FX glass - so I'd like to stick with that brand. I also realize I'm asking a subjective question, but with most comparisons of the two cameras mired in technical cha-cha that I'm not experienced enough to understand, I need it dumbed-down to my level. And because I don't have access to these cameras for real-world comparative analysis, I'm left with getting opinions from folks with more experience. Thanks much.
I'm in the market for a new camera - the attached ... (show quote)


My advice, if it were me in your position, I would invest in some good photography training going forward before I ventured further into equipment purposes just based on your question and by your work.

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Nov 25, 2021 11:23:44   #
Architect1776 Loc: In my mind
 
Geosailor wrote:
I'm in the market for a new camera - the attached was recently taken with a D7000 using a 16-80mm AF-S Nikkor DX zoom at 80mm - from roughly 50 or so feet away. This particular picture was one of 40 or 50 exposures of the subject at various f-stops, etc. - and IMHO was the best I could do. But, setting aside the intended depth-of-field blur in the foreground and background, the eagle itself has some room for improvement in resolution.

I'm considering upgrading to either the second generation version of the Z6 or Z7, but I just don't have enough experience to have a "gut-feel" on whether the lower cost Z6 II (with an FX lens at 80mm) would provide the improvement I'm looking for, loosely defined as "holy cow, I had no idea!" - versus the more expensive Z7 II. I've no need to chase resolution for its own sake - nor do I print poster-size photographs, but if the Z7 II is the right answer, so be it. I'm just your typical enthusiast who hikes around Maine and occasionally runs across subjects or landscapes that deserve a photograph and would like to see some demonstrable improvement in resolution over my current equipment.

I've got some older Nikon FX glass - so I'd like to stick with that brand. I also realize I'm asking a subjective question, but with most comparisons of the two cameras mired in technical cha-cha that I'm not experienced enough to understand, I need it dumbed-down to my level. And because I don't have access to these cameras for real-world comparative analysis, I'm left with getting opinions from folks with more experience. Thanks much.
I'm in the market for a new camera - the attached ... (show quote)


You might do a bit more research.
It seems that the F glass on Z bodies is still F glass quality wise.
From all reviews to truly get the resolution desired from a Z camera a Z lens is needed.
So perhaps if you wish to stay with Nikon you would be better served going with the older DSLRs that the F glass is made for.
There might be some here who will vehemently disagree but the many reviews I have read seem to indicate that if you go with a Z body then to get the most out of it is Z glass.

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Nov 25, 2021 11:28:27   #
quixdraw Loc: American Free States -- Montana
 
I can tell you from personal experience that a DX (I use a D7200) with a longer focal length than you used will get excellent, sharp Eagle photos. D7200 is my go to for Wildlife rather than one of my FX DSLRS. Can add no useful comment on the Z series.

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Nov 25, 2021 11:30:01   #
Longshadow Loc: Audubon, PA, United States
 
photoman43 wrote:
The issue may involve more than just resolution. I looked at the image of the eagle in the trees. It appears that the sharpest parts of the image are the pine branches near the eagle, not the eagle's face. This matter can be a very common occurrence which is solved by using better focusing techniques, often involving manual focus to get the bird's face in proper focus. Also see if similar shots taken at different apertures with greater depth of field have better results.



Wide open at ƒ4 I'm sure didn't help.
1/160 hand held? Or on a tripod?

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Nov 25, 2021 11:33:44   #
PHRubin Loc: Nashville TN USA
 
I agree that the image could be sharper. I'm not sure a "better" camera would do better. There are 2 things I would do different.

First, the f/4 is probably wide open or close to it. That is the worst setting for depth of field. I would try again with a smaller aperture.
Second, I would also try a fasted shutter speed to minimize blur from any motion, camera or subject.

Both of those would require higher ISO, but I'm sure you could go up on it without getting into distracting noise.

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Nov 25, 2021 11:44:43   #
Fotoartist Loc: Detroit, Michigan
 
Photography training.

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Nov 25, 2021 11:54:53   #
Wallen Loc: Middle Earth
 
Fotoartist wrote:
My advice, if it were me in your position, I would invest in some good photography training going forward before I ventured further into equipment purposes just based on your question and by your work.



I'm with you on this one.

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Nov 25, 2021 11:59:07   #
photoman43
 
Here is one on line photo site to go to for very good articles and tips on almost any photo subject.

https://digital-photography-school.com/

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Nov 25, 2021 12:02:05   #
Orphoto Loc: Oregon
 
If this is representative of what you want i say most bang for buck is a good used longer lens, like current generation 70 to 300 ED with vr. Next, education/training, perhaps connect with a local camera club or meetup.

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Nov 25, 2021 12:06:45   #
Hip Coyote
 
I agree with Fotoartist and Rubin...the equipment is probably not the issue here. The shot has some focus problems caused by the branches in the way. Also, the ss is at 160...so any movement of the trees or the bird will be affected. ISO was at 100 so you might want to up that to get a faster ss. IMO, even if the photo were clear, the shot is still of a wonderful animal behind some branches surrounded by a lot of foliage. I thinks some training, workshops and critical self analysis of your work will yield more results than a new camera.

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Nov 25, 2021 12:37:41   #
Geosailor Loc: Rockport, Maine
 
Thank you all for such a quick reply on Thanksgiving!

All excellent feedback, especially the training part - couldn't agree more. In the "better lucky than good" category, I was just sitting on the cliff when the eagle decided to land for a few minutes and scan the lake below for fish. So I pulled out my camera and started shooting, having no idea whether it would hang around for 10 seconds or 10 minutes. And good points on the manual focus option, as well as reducing the aperture - I didn't think of either as ways to get around all the branches in the foreground - a version of buck-fever, I suppose.

On the equipment side of it, all good points as well. The agony shall continue...

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Nov 25, 2021 12:42:15   #
burkphoto Loc: High Point, NC
 
Geosailor wrote:
I'm in the market for a new camera - the attached was recently taken with a D7000 using a 16-80mm AF-S Nikkor DX zoom at 80mm - from roughly 50 or so feet away. This particular picture was one of 40 or 50 exposures of the subject at various f-stops, etc. - and IMHO was the best I could do. But, setting aside the intended depth-of-field blur in the foreground and background, the eagle itself has some room for improvement in resolution.

I'm considering upgrading to either the second generation version of the Z6 or Z7, but I just don't have enough experience to have a "gut-feel" on whether the lower cost Z6 II (with an FX lens at 80mm) would provide the improvement I'm looking for, loosely defined as "holy cow, I had no idea!" - versus the more expensive Z7 II. I've no need to chase resolution for its own sake - nor do I print poster-size photographs, but if the Z7 II is the right answer, so be it. I'm just your typical enthusiast who hikes around Maine and occasionally runs across subjects or landscapes that deserve a photograph and would like to see some demonstrable improvement in resolution over my current equipment.

I've got some older Nikon FX glass - so I'd like to stick with that brand. I also realize I'm asking a subjective question, but with most comparisons of the two cameras mired in technical cha-cha that I'm not experienced enough to understand, I need it dumbed-down to my level. And because I don't have access to these cameras for real-world comparative analysis, I'm left with getting opinions from folks with more experience. Thanks much.
I'm in the market for a new camera - the attached ... (show quote)


The best advice I can give you is to concentrate on LENSES. That zoom isn't the best lens you could be using. Your DX lenses won't work optimally on FX or Z bodies. Your OLD Nikon lenses are not nearly as good as the new mirrorless Z lenses. So think long and hard about trading all your old gear for some quality new gear and cash.

As for the bird photo, I see possible camera shake and/or chromatic lens aberrations. Another possibility is that either the front or rear element is dirty or dusty or fingerprinted. Take a look at them. If you use a protective filter or a polarizer or neutral density filter, remove and clean it, too. You would be surprised how much dust and fingerprints destroy sharpness! A gentle blower bulb puff of air, followed by a Zeiss lens wipe, can restore the surface to pristine condition. Zeiss lens wipes are sold at most Walmarts and some drugstores. Another thing to do is use a lens shade any time the sun is out, or there is a light source just out of frame.

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