I just returned from two weeks in Namibia, and I am still working through my images. Namibia is a beautiful country with fantastic wildlife, sand dunes, tribal groups and even a deserted diamond mine. Packing for the trip I wanted to go light. But with animals, portraits and landscapes on the agenda, I needed a variety of lenses and cameras. First, for wildlife I decided to bring my D500 paired with the Nikon F4 300mm PF. I’ve talked about this lens before, absolutely tack sharp and the most compact 300mm F4 on the market. Paired with the D500 (1.5x sensor), I get an angle of view of 450mm, a perfect lightweight telephoto setup for wildlife.
My second body was a D810, the staple of all my shooting for the last couple of years. I planned to bring my 24-120mm F4, a great all around lens and very sharp. But then I started seeing reviews of the 16-80mm F2.8-F4 DX lens that was the equivalent of my full frame 24-120mm. Not only was this lens getting great reviews, but it was very compact and 1/2 pound lighter than the 24-120mm. Checking the specs for the D500/16-80mm, I realized this setup was less than a pound heavier than the equivalent in comparable mirrorless systems, and would be a great travel setup. Originally I bought my D500 for fast frame rate shooting with long glass, but why not use it as an all around travel camera as well.
How did it perform? Tack sharp, fast focusing and improved VR made it the lens I used the most in Namibia. My favorite landscape images from the trip were created using this lens. I found there was less vignetting than the 24-120mm (easily corrected with profiles in LR), and edge to edge sharpness was excellent. The image at top was photographed using this lens. The lens hood has a button to click it in place, much improved from the lens hood of the 24-120mm which often unscrews from the lens.
I’ll be using this camera/lens combo a lot for future travel photography. Combined with a D810 and 70-200mm F2.8, I will be ready to go.