For many years I have flown the flag for Nikon.  There are other notable brands these days, but somehow Nikon has always been the flagship for me.  Grays of Westminster are in my opinion ‘sans pareil’ in their field -  Grays are Nikon - and vice versa.
When the mirrorless era came in I was quick to get a foot on the Nikon Z series ladder - there is no shutter of course, but unless you adopt a ‘silent’ setting, the camera will still make the re-assuring noise of a mirror removing itself and a shutter doing its work.  So I started with the Z-6, which I have thoroughly enjoyed for the past few years.
2023 was the year when I returned to Africa and the excitement and joy of safari life after an absence of 7 years.  On Safari my focus has always been the whole spectrum of wild species, but I have to confess that birds take priority. There are so many more species of bird than animals, their colours are a kaleidoscope of wonderment - and they are generally much harder to photograph - which is an added attraction!  Happily Nikon, with much fanfare and critical acclaim, launched the Z9 as their flagship mirrorless camera.  The reviews have been stunning and its ability to provide eye-tracking for birds as well as humans etc proved to be an irresistible attraction for an ageing enthusiast like me!   I couldn’t afford it of course, but I bought it anyway - that's what being 80 is all about!
So here is my current line up of Nikon Equipment:
Camera   Nikon Z9     2 Delkin Black memory cards, 325Gb + 150GB, & two battery packs
Lenses     Nikkor     135/1.8S Plena
               Nikkor     24-200/4-6.3
               Nikkor S  100-400/4.5-5.6S
               Teleconverter TC-2.0x

For the birds and animals I use the 100-400 lens + 2.0 teleconverter almost exclusively; so I have a maximum reach of 800mm.   I photograph in RAW at all times.
Tripods and monopods have always seemed to me to be pretty much unsuitable for stabilisation on safari, where one may well have to cope with simultaneous vehicle as well as animal movement.  Bean bags are useful, but most of the time I find that I am fully supporting the camera myself.
The Z9 + 100-400 + TC 2.0 combination weighs in at 3.2kg, so going on Safari has  helped my upper-body strength significantly!  I  also regularly use higher shutter speeds to ‘stop’ subjects in their tracks!

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