Hello, Nikon Z6 II camera body.

Nikon Z6 II

I’ve been shooting a Nikon D810 body for five years. I have two complaints:

1. It’s noisy. This is bad (in my view) for indoor school shows, which is half of why I keep a DSLR around anymore.

2. It’s relatively slow (frames per second, FPS). Not great for sports. Not great for dancing schoolchildren.

So last week, on a lark, I went to Buy&Sell on FredMiranda.com to see if someone was selling a Z6 II. I want that over a Z6 for its autofocus improvements and faster shooting. I want it over a Z7 II for its better low-light sensitivity (or maybe it was low-light AF) and its faster shutter speed. I don’t need those big ol’ Z7 II images.

I found one. Nice seller on FredMiranda.com. I bought it. Z6 II plus a 24-70 f/4 Z lens for $1650 shipped. Good deal. Best new price ever for this body was late 2022 at $1,699. Regular price is $1,999. Lens goes for a grand, but it sells all day used for $350.

I’m okay with this deal. ~12,000 shutter actuations on the body.

Interestingly, I wasn’t excited about this. But I’ll use it and I wanted it.

I’m more excited about glass.

Note: I didn’t have enough whatever, so I paid $15 to FredMiranda to be able to buy on the site. Worth it. 

Nikkor 70-200 f/4.0

One surprise is that I now don’t have a tele zoom to use for school shows with this lens. I have a Nikkor 100-400, but it is not AF-S. So… lens time. I didn’t realize that when I bought the Z6 II.

I bought a mint-condition specimen 70-200 f/4.0 from robertscamera on eBay. I’ve been buying from them for a while now and I trust them. I got my 200mm f/2 VR II from them.

This lens is tiny! So thin! And I love that it is internal-focus. Nothing sticks out as you zoom or focus. I had no idea this lens was so skinny when I bought it. Zero. And it’s super light. Even if I buy a 70-200 f/2.8 some day, I think I’d keep this little guy for when weight or size matters. It’s just lovely. Plus I bought an RRS ring and foot for it, so I basically invested in it.

This lens would be good for shooting basketball, too. The 200mm f/2.0 is so sharp and I don’t mind the weight, but it’s not a zoom.

I bought an FTZ II adapter via eBay. And a Nikon NC filter, as always, for the lens below. And a Nikon MB-N11 battery grip from someone else on FredMiranda.com. Plus a couple extra batteries from Amazon.com. These things eat batteries, according to the specs.

1 July 2023 Update: These don’t eat batteries. I shoot a few thousand photos and only make a dent in one battery. Very nice. But I keep the back screen off, which certainly helps.

Canon R6 II

While researching price, I found that Canon’s R6 II does 40FPS. Whoah. That beats the 12FPS or whatever I can get out of a Z6 II. And I read that the R6 II is completely silent (or has such a mode). $2,500 right now to get one.

And I’d buy a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM (link). That lens would, I think, replace:

  • Nikkor 200-500 f/5.6
  • Nikkor 70-200 f/4 I bought the same day I bought the Z6 II body.

I think I could just have that Canon body and one lens. But I don’t want to get rid of some of my lenses (like my recently acquired 200mm f/2) and I don’t know that I need 40FPS. 12FPS, the top speed of the Z6 II body, is much faster than my D810, so I plan to just see how that goes.

I put the 200mm f/2 on my Z6 II (sans battery grip) and brought it in to show my wife. She laughed and laughed.

Now my D810 is my backup. And something I can shoot my non-AF-S lenses with.

I’ll probably sell a ton of AF lenses. I only shoot the telephotos.

But this Z6 II is a nice little body. Maybe I’ll walk around with it? Probably not, but we’ll see.

Hello, Nikkor 200mm f/2G AF-S VR II lens.

Wasn’t planning this one.

I noticed an eBay listing for one of these lenses about a week ago. The price shot up early in the listing. So stupid for buyers to bid early on eBay.

But it got me interested. I’d read about this lens before and wanted one. It’s Nikon’s optimum answer to small-field indoor and night-time sports and for live performances in similar conditions (not too far away and indoor or night-time). If weight, size, and price are not a factor, this is the lens.

I found one listed in “Fair” condition on eBay for $2,531.98, with offers accepted. It looks cosmetically incredible though. Listing says:

Condition: Fair

This item is rated in Fair condition. That means that this item is between 65-75% of original condition. This item shows heavy wear and may have major cosmetic blemishes. The item has been fully tested as operational. The photographs are of the actual item for sale and this item only includes what you see in the photographs. The grade associated with this item reflects only the core item and not any accessories that may be included. 

Other Notes

There is heavy internal dust and marks under the front element. 

I can’t see problems in the listing’s photos. This seems to be cosmetically superior to lenses I’m seeing sold on eBay for $3,400 and $4,000.

Seller accepts returns. It’s a real shop that I’ve bought from before. Let’s do it. I used up all my offers working up to $2,400. Every offer below that price was automatically rejected.

I consider this about a thousand dollars below the used price for a clean one of these lenses, at best. The wildcard is dust and “marks” “under the front elements”. Are the marks in the element, or outside — maybe it’s just the dust that’s inside and the exterior of the element is marred? If the front element really is messed up, I could send it to Nikon for repair. If that cost only $500, I’d consider the lens to still be a great deal. If the dust impacts photos, I could send it to Nikon for cleaning. Sometimes you need to get things cleaned. It’s okay.

Cosmetically, this does not appear to be in “Fair” condition. It appears to be in considerably better cosmetic condition. But we’ll see if the “Other Notes” points from the listing make this a bad situation.

This is a buy it and keep it kind of lens. (If I like it.) I think I’m going to like it.

B&H has laudatory user reviews: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/734998-USA/Nikon_2188_AF_S_NIKKOR_200mm_f_2_0.html/reviews

Ken Rockwell says good things: https://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/200mm-f2-vr-ii.htm

Nikon’s product page: https://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Camera-Lenses/AF-S-NIKKOR-200mm-f%252F2G-ED-VR-II.html

This is the newer model with slightly improved VR and, per that Rockwell analysis, unimportant coating improvement. Cool.

31 December 2022 11:35AM: It arrived last night. I opened it a few minutes ago. I see dust on the second element from the last element. Definitely there. Will it show up in photos (as blur or whatever)? I don’t know. Marks on the lens? I don’t see them. I just don’t. Cosmetic condition: Ridiculous. Perfection. It even came with this Don Zeck C3 lens cap I was considering getting: https://www.amazon.com/Don-Zeck-Nikon-200mm-300mm/dp/B0030I2T1C

Wowza! I got so lucky with this lens find. I consider that I saved about $900 to a thousand dollars over what I could/should have paid for it. It’s got some dust. So what?

2 January 2023: I’m excited to own this. I don’t have any new information or experience. But I think I got a $4,000-grade lens for $2,400. Time will tell. And eventually it won’t matter. As long as I use this and get results with it, the relevance and memory of the price will eventually melt away.

6 March 2023: I recently discovered that Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 FL. I think it’ll do for me what this lens does, with considerably reduced size (convenience) and weight. Sharp. Close focus. Light. Small. Uh oh. I bought a used one. Sent it back as it had a big gouge at the focus ring. Bought another one. Super great lens.

3 June 2023: I wish I hadn’t bought this. My 70-200 FL is enough. Plus it is super light and very small.

Hello, Western Digital Data Center HC550 18TB Disk Drives.

Many months ago, GoPro videos finally plugged up my 5TB “Photos” drive. I started saving lacrosse photos on my desktop, till my M1 Mac mini’s 2TB SSD filled up. Not good.

What to do? Delete GoPro videos? Meh.

Get a RAID array? Nah. I don’t need the speed nor the failure tolerance (high availability).

Get a NAS? They all have bad reviews. I only need access to the files from my Mac mini, not from a bunch of computers. And if I needed access from my MacBook Pro (which hasn’t happened yet, ever), I could share the drive via my Mac mini. Would a NAS really add value for my use?

Get a big hard drive. This is the one. So I did.

My understanding is these are basically Hitachi drives. I hope these drives have the legendary reliability Hitachi earned a reputation for.

I put these in an OWC Drive Dock, a two-disk USB 3.1 thingy. On Amazon, it is called OWC Drive Dock USB-C Dual Drive Bay Solution (OWCTCDRVDCK). Manufacturer’s page: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TCDRVDCK/ 

Copying 5TB of photos and videos to the drive from my (slow, 2.5” external) Seagate drive to one of these new drives takes about 16 hours (Finder estimate).

Copying that 5TB of data from the drive to itself (just to see how long it takes) takes about six minutes.

Copying that 5TB of data from the drive to the same model drive in the OWC thingy takes about 16 hours (Finder estimate). That’s disappointing.

Is this OWC thing saturating the SATA 3 bus when copying from one drive in it to another drive in it? Not. Even. Close. Disappointing.

Manufacturer OWC’s Support has told me twice that this thing supports S.M.A.R.T. disk health information on the drives in it. But my experience is that it does not.