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  • Camera Recommendations

    Hi everyone, I hope you are all having a great day! I'm pretty new to planespotting, and have been using my phone to take photos of the planes. Now that I know how much I enjoy aviation photography, I think I'm ready to purchase a real camera. Can anyone recommend a decent camera for a beginner, preferably something around $150 or less? I've never used a real camera before, so I'm looking for something that'll be easy for me to learn how to use. Thanks!

  • #2
    Finding something useable under $150 is defined not easy. But something like a Nikon D3300 should sell for about 180 used. A Lens like a 18-105 works well and they are very cheap too

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    • #3
      I would advise you to keep using your smartphone until you have enough budget to buy a reflex camera. So you don't waste your 150

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mahagonny View Post
        I would advise you to keep using your smartphone until you have enough budget to buy a reflex camera. So you don't waste your 150
        I don't know much about cameras, but I googled "reflex camera" and this is one that popped up, do you know if this one is any good? Thanks for the advice btw

        Click image for larger version

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        • #5
          Personally, I plunged in with a Canon 2000D and the usual two lenses that come with it. However, the actual lens you choose will be of more significance in the long run. I've been fairly happy shooting on my 2000D with a Sigma 150-600mm. But again, another vote for the save your $150 and put it towards a decent camera and lens up front. But once you get a body, look to upgrade your lens as the next step

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          • #6
            Originally posted by LewisW295 View Post
            Personally, I plunged in with a Canon 2000D and the usual two lenses that come with it. However, the actual lens you choose will be of more significance in the long run. I've been fairly happy shooting on my 2000D with a Sigma 150-600mm. But again, another vote for the save your $150 and put it towards a decent camera and lens up front. But once you get a body, look to upgrade your lens as the next step
            Thanks

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MBreaux59 View Post

              I don't know much about cameras, but I googled "reflex camera" and this is one that popped up, do you know if this one is any good? Thanks for the advice btw

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              In reality, even a smartphone could be enough for spotting. It depends on what you want to photograph.
              I advise you to look at a guide on the net to get an idea according to your needs.
              Here for exemple: https://youtu.be/bmMt7ymy9_I and this: https://www.wikihow.com/Be-an-Aircraft-Spotter

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              • #8
                Excuse me. I add that, of course, it would be advisable for you to have at least an initial knowledge of general photography. Also for this I suggest you consult some guides on the net. There are really a lot of them.

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                • #9
                  A used Nikon D300 with a used 70-300 lens like a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro. In Germany this can be found for about 170 Euros at resale shops with a 12 months warranty.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mahagonny View Post

                    In reality, even a smartphone could be enough for spotting. It depends on what you want to photograph.
                    I advise you to look at a guide on the net to get an idea according to your needs.
                    Here for exemple: https://youtu.be/bmMt7ymy9_I and this: https://www.wikihow.com/Be-an-Aircraft-Spotter
                    I agree, I don't NEED a camera, the photos I take with my phone are more than good enough for me. However, it's my goal to one day have my photos on Jetphotos. I love my photos, but they aren't quite good enough to be uploaded to the site. Here's an example of a photo I took yesterday.
                    Click image for larger version

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                    • #11
                      No you don't need a camera for starters. Especially if you're using a "phone" which is x times the 150$ you wish to spend on a camera.

                      And not to forget that digital photography is also a lot about editing. Besides the white band around the aircraft, a lot can be improved
                      .

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bleuair View Post
                        No you don't need a camera for starters. Especially if you're using a "phone" which is x times the 150$ you wish to spend on a camera.

                        And not to forget that digital photography is also a lot about editing. Besides the white band around the aircraft, a lot can be improved
                        If you don't mind, what do you think I could do better as far as editing? I've watched a few tutorials but I feel like I'm still not getting it quite right. If you wouldn't mind giving me some tips I'd really appreciate it. I very much want to improve.

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                        • #13
                          it also depends on what software you use for editing.
                          In general, however, exposure should be corrected by checking the brightness histogram. Then you apply a contrast across the curves. Continuing we move on to the application of an unsharp mask to refine the edges and then continue with the correction of the distortion caused by the focal length of the lens.
                          It may be necessary to further correct the tonal values.
                          Once all this is done, you need to crop the photo centering it to the size you want and save it in a format that suits you.
                          at least that's my "basic" workflow.
                          To upload photos here, I suggest you read the guidelines carefully.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MBreaux59 View Post
                            Hi everyone, I hope you are all having a great day! I'm pretty new to planespotting, and have been using my phone to take photos of the planes. Now that I know how much I enjoy aviation photography, I think I'm ready to purchase a real camera. Can anyone recommend a decent camera for a beginner, preferably something around $150 or less? I've never used a real camera before, so I'm looking for something that'll be easy for me to learn how to use. Thanks!
                            Here's my take on all of this:

                            I don't think it's worth it spending $150-300 on a crappy DSLR, then realising that it isn't anywhere near versatile enough for your use case, then not using it at all. Your phone camera is fine but the problem is that you get a massive loss in image quality because of the cheap lens and tiny sensor, and it then tries to sharpen the image to make up for the optical deficits and tends to overdo it, resulting in a less than ideal picture for jetphotos.

                            The thing about cheap camera kits like the 4000D/T100 + 18-55 is that:
                            a) the camera itself has horrible autofocus, which implies that:
                            b) you can have all the image quality (determined by the lens you use) in the world, but it won't matter if your images are out of focus

                            You probably could get away with using that 4000D/T100 + 18-55 for planespotting, provided that you are very, very close to the airport's taxiways (Mumbai Airport is a good example of this) and are willing to learn how to focus manually. But from what I can make out, you need a focal length of more than 55mm. Canon makes a very cheap 55-250mm lens which is quite good, other manufacturers (canon included) make things like 70-300mm lenses which have more focal length but in practice tend to be quite bad optically.

                            Personally, for someone on a shoestring budget, I'd recommend them to get a used Rebel SL2/EOS 200D (same camera, different names) and two lenses: the 18-55 kit lens and an EF-S 55-250mm. The rebel SL2 has a massively improved autofocus (dual pixel autofocus, I wouldn't get a canon camera that doesn't have it) over that of the 4000D/2000D, and chances are that you'll find it being sold as a kit with an 18-55 lens, so all you need to do is buy a 55-250mm lens separately.

                            (I personally have an EOS 2000D/Rebel T7, and a sigma 150-600mm lens, and wouldn't recommend it to beginner planespotters)

                            options for camera + lens include:

                            -EOS 200D/250D/SL2/SL3 + 18-55mm kit lens + EF-S 55-250mm (the best option)
                            -Nikon D200, 70-300 AF G (equally good, just slightly older, good for planespotting but ok to bad for everything else)
                            -Nikon D300 with a used 70-300 (the step up from the D200)
                            -EOS 2000D/4000D/T7/T1000 + 18-55mm + 55-250mm (wouldn't recommend)

                            Feel free to reply and ask any questions. Good luck.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by thepiecesfit View Post

                              Here's my take on all of this:

                              I don't think it's worth it spending $150-300 on a crappy DSLR, then realising that it isn't anywhere near versatile enough for your use case, then not using it at all. Your phone camera is fine but the problem is that you get a massive loss in image quality because of the cheap lens and tiny sensor, and it then tries to sharpen the image to make up for the optical deficits and tends to overdo it, resulting in a less than ideal picture for jetphotos.

                              The thing about cheap camera kits like the 4000D/T100 + 18-55 is that:
                              a) the camera itself has horrible autofocus, which implies that:
                              b) you can have all the image quality (determined by the lens you use) in the world, but it won't matter if your images are out of focus

                              You probably could get away with using that 4000D/T100 + 18-55 for planespotting, provided that you are very, very close to the airport's taxiways (Mumbai Airport is a good example of this) and are willing to learn how to focus manually. But from what I can make out, you need a focal length of more than 55mm. Canon makes a very cheap 55-250mm lens which is quite good, other manufacturers (canon included) make things like 70-300mm lenses which have more focal length but in practice tend to be quite bad optically.

                              Personally, for someone on a shoestring budget, I'd recommend them to get a used Rebel SL2/EOS 200D (same camera, different names) and two lenses: the 18-55 kit lens and an EF-S 55-250mm. The rebel SL2 has a massively improved autofocus (dual pixel autofocus, I wouldn't get a canon camera that doesn't have it) over that of the 4000D/2000D, and chances are that you'll find it being sold as a kit with an 18-55 lens, so all you need to do is buy a 55-250mm lens separately.

                              (I personally have an EOS 2000D/Rebel T7, and a sigma 150-600mm lens, and wouldn't recommend it to beginner planespotters)

                              options for camera + lens include:

                              -EOS 200D/250D/SL2/SL3 + 18-55mm kit lens + EF-S 55-250mm (the best option)
                              -Nikon D200, 70-300 AF G (equally good, just slightly older, good for planespotting but ok to bad for everything else)
                              -Nikon D300 with a used 70-300 (the step up from the D200)
                              -EOS 2000D/4000D/T7/T1000 + 18-55mm + 55-250mm (wouldn't recommend)

                              Feel free to reply and ask any questions. Good luck.
                              Thank you so much for the advice! I know nothing about cameras, so this has really helped me alot in knowing what to look for. You mentioned something about my phone images being oversharpened, I did sharpen the photo I posted in this thread during editing. Did I oversharpen it? Thanks!

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