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Thread: Hello, I have a few questions on what camera to buy + lens

  1. #1
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    Default Hello, I have a few questions on what camera to buy + lens

    Hello, I haven't really posted on this forum at all I think. I currently use a Nikon Coolpix B500. I'm a newbie to photography. I'm 14 by the way. The B500 is good, but it could be better. I'll include a few photos that I have taken with my B500. The photo of the A340 is the one I'd like to focus on. I can't read the registration. The photo was taken after I was leaving PHL with my dad after spotting for 3 hours. I took the photo on a bridge in a car. What kind of camera and lens would have made that photo very clear? I don't want to spend over $200 for a lens.

    Now, about the camera. Here's a few cameras I was thinking about buying: Nikon D2x, Nikon D300 or D200, Nikon D5300 or the Nikon D7000. Which would be the best with my experience? I want something that will be able to get a shot of that A340 and make it so clear that I can read the registration without squinting and guessing. Something that will make the picture look less grainy. What type of lens could I use? And what camera would be the cheapest to buy, but still better than my B500? I do like that D2x, but would it be better than my B500? D200 or D300? I don't want to spend more than $550 total (camera + lens).

    I also took a picture of an aircraft very far away at PHL. It just took off. You can see the airplane, but it's very grainy. What lens would make it a tad bit more clear, but in my range? I have also included a good photo of a Frontier A321 and an American A330-200 from PHL. I just want to know what you guys think about my pictures .

    Any help is appreciated!Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Peter Kesternich's Avatar
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    Hey,
    Well - first of all, let me say that if you don't have a DSLR yet, you should look beyond Nikon. There are other great products on the market like Canon or Sony. If yo don't have exchangeable lenses from a previous SLR, it might be worth looking at other manufacturers as well. I know - Nikon has a reputation, but this also comes with a price.
    I have been using Sony for a long time, basically, because I can use my old Minolta lenses on the Sony DSLRs. Sony also has the advantage of having the picture stabilizer built into the body of the camera rather than into the lense. Might give you some flexibility there. But I think you should really go to a photo store and get some serious advice there. For example, let them show you several cameras, pick them up and hold them for a while. The reason why I ended up with Minolta almost 20 years ago was because the Minolta camera was the most ergonomic for my hands. That's also something to consider. If you want to get serious about planespotting, you will hold this camera for long periods of time, from odd angles and odd positions. So a camera that is comfortably stable in your hand is important.
    Also - don't get too fixed on the price. Remember - it's not just the camera and the lense. There will be add-ons. You should get at least two more spare batteries and these are expensive. Don't go for the cheap replacement ones. I had a camera wrecked once, because I was using a no-name battery. Only buy replacement batteries from the camera manufacturer. You will also need charging equipment. Preferably something that can also be used in a car. Also, if you want to get serious about plane spotting, you should be aware that the body of a camera won't last very long. Dust will get inside invariably, causing dust spots on the sensor and even with extensive cleaning, there will eventually be so much dust that the camera becomes virtually unusable for plane spotting (unless you want to spend hours per photo to retouch the dust spots before uploading it here). My experience has been that with my Sony bodies, I have to get rid of them after three to four years.
    So, I think my best advice would be to get some professional advice.

    P.S. Unfortunately, your photos don't show here, except for the Star Alliance A340...

  3. #3
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    Ok, I fixed the picture problem. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Any other ideas/suggestions on what lenses to use + camera specifically?

  4. #4
    JetPhotos.Net Crew meneses24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazyfortress View Post
    Ok, I fixed the picture problem. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Any other ideas/suggestions on what lenses to use + camera specifically?
    Hi my friend, welcome aboard! This one might suit you very well, is within your budget range and might be a great step to take before taking an upgrade to the SLR world. At your age I started with a 3MP, 3X zoom Point and shoot camera! This one would be like the SR-71 Blackbird version for that one

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...2C138045322040

  5. #5
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    Best low budget combo:
    Nikon D3300 + Nikon 55-300 4,5-5,6 or Nikon 55-200 4-5,6

  6. #6
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    I was 15 and days when I switched from a Coolpix to a Canon DSLR.

    My advice:
    Go to Best Buy and/or Costco and try multiple cameras, navigate the menus and check out the ergonomics. Personally I find the ergonomics on the Nikon D3000/D5000 bodies dysmal, and I have small hands. You're buying a camera that should last you years (I went 5.5 years without a change), so you want something that you're comfortable with. it makes a whole lot of difference.

    Don't limit yourself to Nikon, since you haven't bought into the system yet. Instead, decide what you want to go with.

    I would recommend a Canon T5i or T6 + 55-250 (DO NOT recommend the 75-300, the good/bad copies are too much hit and miss), or whatever the current D3000/D5000 series are, with the 55-200 or 55-300. Again, try them, see which one you like. Go to www.dpreview.com and look at the reviews, to see if you have any preference with regards to their comments from the review.

    A D3400, 18-55 and 55-300 combo will set you back around $600 on Amazon. It's a tad over your budget, but if you can save another 2 months and spend the extra $50, it'll be worth it. Also check Costco as they usually have good deals on combos (maybe same price as other stores but they'll throw in some goodies like a camera bag, card, batteries, etc).

    If you're shooting from Hog Island, you should be fine with those focal lengths. 200 might restrict you when it comes to CRJs and Dash 8s, but that's about it.

    I do not recommend going with a used body that is higher up in the product line (D200/300/2X) unless you've used a DSLR before and are familiar with the controls and can deal with the size. Those things are tanks, they work great, but the controls might be too intimidating to someone who isn't familiar with DSLRs, not to mention, older cameras tend to be much less forgiving and have less functions as the newer ones. Once you've mastered an entry level SLR, by all means go up, if you want to, go buy a circa 2002 pro body and use it, and live with the challenges it has, but don't start with one, you'll hate it. Accessories are another point. D2X batteries are expensive ($129 OEM, $20-40 aftermarket), big and heavy. D200/D300 aren't as bad. Those cameras all use CF cards which are harder to come by and more expensive too. I just bought a pack of 2 16GB Lexar Pro SD's for $18 on Amazon, which is a far cry from the $30 or so that a comparable CF costs). Image quality will most likely be better all around on the newer cameras, especially once you go beyond ISO200 and bright daylight. No matter how good a pro camera was 12 years ago, the image quality won't be as good as a new one once you start pushing the limits.


    What could make the last two shots better? Nothing that comes remotely close to your budget. Maybe a 150-600, but you won't find that below $1000, and even then, I don't think there will be a big difference since there are other things involved (distance, temperature, atmospheric haze, exhaust heat, etc). Yes it will be a better shot, but maybe not by much. Certainly not if you were zoomed in to the max. The only lens I can think of that might do something is the Canon 1200mm f5.6L, takes 2-3 people to set up and if you can find one for sale, it'll be about $180,000.

    Focus on shooting from known good spots like Hog Island Rd and go from there. Having a big/bigger zoom isn't a guarantee that you will get better shots when you're shooting from very far away, as there are a lot of factors that come into play.
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  7. #7
    Member Vishal Jolapara's Avatar
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    If you're primarily buying the camera for planespotting then go with whichever entry level Canon dSLR you can afford - they are all more-or-less the same.

    As per your budget, you should be able to afford the Canon EF-S 55-250mm - I see its priced at $129 on B&H

    I would HIGHLY recommend you get the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens instead, its $449 for the legacy lens and 100 more for the latest Mk II version - then again at that pricepoint you will also be able to afford the Canon 70-200 f4L.

    dSLRs will become outdated within 3-4 years, Lenses will stay with you for life.

  8. #8
    Senior Member PMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vishal Jolapara View Post
    If you're primarily buying the camera for planespotting then go with whichever entry level Canon dSLR you can afford - they are all more-or-less the same.

    As per your budget, you should be able to afford the Canon EF-S 55-250mm - I see its priced at $129 on B&H

    I would HIGHLY recommend you get the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens instead, its $449 for the legacy lens and 100 more for the latest Mk II version - then again at that pricepoint you will also be able to afford the Canon 70-200 f4L.

    dSLRs will become outdated within 3-4 years, Lenses will stay with you for life.
    Why only Canon? Other manufacturers make perfectly good cameras and are well worth looking into, the most comfortable camera for you to use is probably the best one to go for regardless of manufacturer.

    I'm also not entirely convinced about DSLRs being outdated after 3 or 4 years. Both my 7D and 5Dmk2 are over 5 tears old and are still perfectly capable.
    Seeing the world with a 3:2 aspect ratio...

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMN View Post
    I'm also not entirely convinced about DSLRs being outdated after 3 or 4 years. Both my 7D and 5Dmk2 are over 5 tears old and are still perfectly capable.
    Absolutely. My 1DS is 15 years old and it's still good. Very restrictive in terms of what I can do with it, but it still takes good photos.
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    I would suggest you to buy Nikon coolpix P900. It's about $600 on Amazon, which is little above your budget. Though it is a dslr-like camera that might not offer you the best photo quality, it would still work great(especially on sunny days).The most epic function it has is that it has a optical focal length equivalenting "2000mm"! You could view some of my photos on JP, 90% of them were taken by P900!
    https://www.jetphotos.com/photographer/87690
    Newbie to JP, view my photos here:
    http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=87690

  11. #11
    Super Moderator brianw999's Avatar
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    The 6.2mm x 4.6mm sensor size in the P900 is dramatically smaller than a standard 24.6mm x 16mm Nikon DSLR. I would not recommend a bridge camera for aviation photography.
    $600 will buy you a perfectly adequate 16 megapixel DSLR or even a couple of 24mp like the Nikon D3300. Talk to the salesman for a deal to include a 70-300 zoom. You may even be able to get an 18-200.
    If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !


  12. #12
    Junior Member airbum's Avatar
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    Hi there

    My pennies worth: Whatever you do, buy a system-camera!

    Personally I only have Olympus equipment, and whenever I can afford it I upgrade lenses or camera-house. That way you will always be able to improve your photograpy without paying too munch for an update.

    Yesterday I bought the very last Olympus OM-D E-M5 that was for sale in Denmark, and got it for a fair price with a 12-50mm lens (equal to 24-100mm - Olympus mm'ers are the old analogue times 2, Canon is AFAIK x 1.6)

    Have fun out there
    /Erik

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