Field Report: August 18th, 2019 – Nikon Z7 with 500mm PF Lens

Lately I have been renting some different full frame camera setups to test. The Nikon Z7 and 500 PF lens is a nice, nimble and compact setup for kayak photography. Photographing wildlife from aboard a kayak is rewarding, but can be extremely challenging. Not only do you have movement of the wildlife and shake from shooting handheld deal with, you also have boat movement due to wind and tides. The reward is that wildlife are generally less afraid of people in a boat, and you are naturally already at eye level – which can produce compelling photos.

Sea otter in Monterey, California

I came away impressed with the combination of the Nikon Z7 and 500 PF. The Z7 has a different autofocus feel than a DSLR, but it is still precise and reliable. The burst rate of the Z7 is a little bit slow (around 5 FPS) when the drive mode is set to Continuous High.

Otter perfecting the backstroke and resting after a meal

Animals featured here include sea otter and a harbor seal. Sea otters are more than a cute and cuddly face…sea otters consume ~25-40% of their body weight per day in invertebrates such as sea urchins that would otherwise devour kelp forests down to the nub, and as such, otters are necessary to maintain the delicate balance in one of the most productive ecosystems on the planet – kelp forests. The fur trade, starting in the 1700s, reduced their numbers from the hundreds of thousands down to a couple thousand, with slow but steady recovery in recent years.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣

Young harbor seal sunning him/herself

Author: Bobby Vogt

Biologist, photographer, and site administrator.

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