If you’ve ever been to an airshow, airbase, or airport to a “plane spot,” you’ll understand how difficult it can be to capture a truly outstanding photograph. In this case, what is the key to selecting the best video camera for plane spotting?
Our research for the best camera for aircraft photography spanned more than 70 hours in total. We looked at still cameras that could also record video, as well as a couple of dedicated video cameras, among other things. Continue reading to learn what the secret is. For those who want to get right into it, here are our top picks for the title of “best camera for plane spotting” in the meantime.
On weekends, you can usually find me at the local airport photographing planes landing. There’s something beautiful about these hulking beasts moving through the sky, whether military, civilian, or commercial. Human and machine collaborating to achieve incredible feats.
My passions for photography and aviation have always been inextricably linked. Aviation photography is a unique subject that will enhance your portfolio. It also broadens your photographic abilities in a variety of subjects ranging from abstract to documentary.
How to shoot aviation photography?
Aviation photography is typically shot with a subject aircraft and an aerial platform such as a helicopter or another aircraft. Before each photoshoot, the photographers and pilots meet to plan out the details of the aircraft’s positions at any given time and what to do if something goes wrong.
BUYING CRITERIA FOR A BEST CAMERA FOR AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY
Let’s take a look at what makes a good camera for aircraft spotting in more detail. We are not photographing portraits, flowers, or landscapes in this location. When it comes to photography, if that were all we did, it would be a choice between a DSLR camera (with Canon camera and Nikon camera likely going head to head) and a mirrorless camera (a technology that gets better all the time).
For the very best aviation photographs, we believe that you should use one of the top DSLR cameras available. However, the entire point of aircraft is that they move in a spectacular manner (especially during airshows) and that the sound they make is thrilling.. You could simply take a beautiful still image of an F-16, F-15, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-16 Fighting Falcon, or F-16 Fighting Falcon, but that would be missing the point. As a result, the secret is also all about the cacophony and commotion of movement.
So, yes, cameras should be affordable, and yes, you can consider specific brands or concentrate on top-rated popular models that have been recommended by other lists and reviews.
BUT SO WHAT – best video camera for plane spotting
All of this is completely missing the point. It’s all about the spectacle.
Let’s take a closer look at the top five contenders for the title “Best Camera for Plane Spotting” now that we have that in mind. Our top three models – two DSLRs and one mirrorless – will be examined in greater depth first, followed by an examination of an alternative pair of video cameras….
5 BEST CAMERAS FOR PLANE SPOTTING IN 2023
1. CANON EOS 5D MARK IV
best video camera for plane spotting
However, while the Canon Eos 5D Mark IV is perfectly capable of recording video and audio, the real reason you would choose the 5D is for its ability to capture outstanding aviation stills – including those captured in burst mode.
However, if you are more concerned with high-quality still aircraft images than with moving video and audio, the 5D has a stellar reputation in the world of DSLR cameras. The Canon sensor is pretty much the best you can get at this price point – and some would argue at any price point – and the camera is extremely well built, extremely reliable, and the weapon of choice for many full-time professional photographers around the world.
What if you wanted to take a still shot of that Raptor or that vintage Catalina and sell it to someone else? I’m confident that this will meet your needs.
2. NIKON DF 16.2 MP CMOS FX-FORMAT DIGITAL SLR CAMERA
Cheap camera for plane spotting
If you enjoy digital SLR cameras and are looking for an alternative to the Canon, take a look at this fantastic Nikon bundle, which includes their fantastic DF camera body as well as a perfectly matched NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition lens.
Again, we’re concentrating on plane spotting stills, and this will produce results that are comparable to those obtained with the 5D Mark III (in the right hands). Nikon and Canon are regularly trading places at the top of the DSLR camera market, and this is a fantastic camera in its own right.
best video camera for plane spotting
Verdict: We want one (so long as we can have the Sony or the Panasonic video camera too).
3. FUJIFILM X-T30 MIRRORLESS DIGITAL CAMERA
BEST CAMERA FOR PLANE SPOTTING
Okay, now for something completely different. Despite its low price, this Fujifilm 4K mirrorless camera produces acceptable still images and acceptable video at a reasonable cost. The camera has some nice features, such as Auto-Focus Tracking, and it can record 4K video with audio – though only at 30 frames per second, which best video camera for plane spotting will be jerky in fast motion. When you watch in high definition, you can get up to 120 frames per second, which is more than enough.
Verdict: Not every person has the kind of money we are about for the 4 other camera models on our list – and if you are getting started or are on a tight or less budget, this is a versatile choice.
Read Also: 4k camera under 500
4. PANASONIC HC-X1 4K ULTRA HD PROFESSIONAL CAMCORDER
BEST CAMERA FOR AIRSHOW VIDEOS
You’ll need a professional-grade video camera if you want to create professional-looking airshow videos rather than just still photographs. This Panasonic model is exactly what you’ll need. The Panasonic company, like the Sony company that comes after it, has decades of experience in broadcast television grade camera equipment, and this know-how (as well as technology) makes its way further down the product line. The first thing to mention is that you will not be using the HC-X1 to capture still images.
It is not intended to be used in this manner at all. That has already been discussed in relation to Canon and Nikon best video camera for plane spotting.
Whether it’s a fighter or bomber landing or taking off from an airbase, stunts or flybys at an airshow, or the staggering power unleashed by even a commercial jetliner during takeoff, the Panasonic will capture all of the movement and full stereo sound field, as well as the adrenaline rush and drama that comes with it.
The sound quality on the Panasonic is just as important as the picture quality on the device. A good videographer will choose to connect two external omnidirectional or cardioid microphones with windshields to the camera body via the dual XLR input ports, even though onboard microphones are available.
Videos are captured with a fantastic Leica lens (at this price point), which has the zoom functionality you require as well as some very useful motion stabilization features. Having said that, because the camera has a 4K sensor, this is one of the few instances in which 4K is actually beneficial.
It is possible to shoot aircraft in 4K (38402160) with the HC-X1, but during post-production, it is necessary to extract an HD (19201080) image and perform stabilisation using the editing software (Apple, Avid Adobe, etc.) Images can be reframed and the resolution can be increased as a result – in-camera stabilization is acceptable in an emergency situation, but it is a trade-off that can result in reduced picture quality in some situations. As a result, this is referred to as spatial oversampling, and it is widely used in film and television production.
Slow-motion is similar in that the Panasonic can be switched from 4K capture to HD capture and, in that case, can run at frame rates of up to 120 frames per second, which is similar to fast motion. It is possible to create stunning slow-motion action using this technique, which is a type of temporal oversampling.
The Panasonic HC-X1 is a fantastic camera for plane spotting and will not let you down in any way. This is one of our top-recommended video cameras for airshow photography because of its excellent lens, excellent audio, and excellent slow-motion capabilities.
5. SONY PXW-Z90VB
aviation photography camera
BEST BRIDGE CAMERA FOR PLANE SPOTTING
To be completely honest, we enjoy this Sony 4K camera just as much as we enjoy the Panasonic. Either of these candidates could have topped our list. This Sony video camcorder features the Hybrid Log Gamma HDR (high dynamic range) system, which was developed in collaboration with the British Broadcasting Corporation. That means that if you have a compatible display at home, or if you intend to broadcast this to viewers who have the appropriate televisions, it will appear to be extremely impressive.
Additionally, we enjoy the 29mm-348mm power zoom lens, which is also available in super slow motion (high frame rate at up to 120 fps). Try it out on a helicopter and you’ll be delighted with the results.
Sony is yet another industry leader in broadcast cameras, as evidenced by this model’s well-thought-out audio, which, once again, allows for the use of vastly superior external microphones.
Conclusion: High dynamic range (HDR) is ideal for aircraft videos because it allows you to capture highlights and lowlights on a bright day, such as reflections off the aircraft or deep shadows, in a way that a standard camera simply cannot.
So, what do you think of our review of best cameras for plane spotting? Is it possible that you were surprised by how much time we spent on audio? What are your thoughts on the ability to compare still cameras that can record video and real video cameras in terms of quality and performance? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. Thanks for reading.
Plane spotting cameras are summarised in this section.
Any camera, from an iPhone to a $10,000 DSLR, can be used to do plane spotting and take aircraft photos (or any other type of photo for that matter), so don’t let a lack of equipment or a desire to start with a “good” camera discourage you from getting into aviation photography.
Nonetheless, if you intend to go plane spotting for the foreseeable future, I recommend investing in at least an entry-level DSLR.
In addition to being faster due to the optical viewfinder, having better quality when compared to most compact cameras, and so on, it will give you the ability to change lenses and thus photograph at the widest possible range of focal lengths, as well as to upgrade your equipment one piece at a time, among other advantages.
Send me a message in the comments section below if you have any questions or would like any additional information on choosing the best camera for plane spotting.
Plan Photography Tips and Tricks(
for best camera for plane spotting
Light is at the heart of photography, and it is how we bring romance to aircraft. Shooting in the early and late hours is the norm, but you’ll quickly notice that aircraft are most often in the air around noon. That’s fine because we can turn it to our advantage. Unlike most photographers, we use all three lighting patterns when photographing aircraft: front, side, and back.
Use the light to tell only the p’arts of the story that are necessary. Planes, for example, have wings, but not all of them must be l/it. Backlighting works if light enters the cockpit through the canopy. It may appear out of place, but consider romantic landscape lighting when When photographing aircraft, however, consider romantic landscape lighting.
Clouds in sky: best cheap camera for plane spotting
Bald skies are unappealing, especially when it comes to aircraft! We frequently see clouds behind planes in flight when we look up. When you watch a movie, you usually see airplanes flying through clouds. That’s where our hearts and minds take them. So clouds are a natural element that you should use whenever possible.
If there are a lot of clouds, shoot wide and don’t worry about the plane being too small in the frame. If you only have a few clouds, shoot tight and position yourself so that the few clouds available are in the background. Plan your panning to include the clouds in the background if the plane is in flight. This is critical when shooting jets because, in the absence of a prop, clouds are required to give them a sense of motion in a still capture. If you’re really lucky, the clouds will be low enough that they blur in the background as you pan. You’re now discussing aviation photography!
This is the most important tool, technique, trick, and tip for aviation — and for all photography. Tripods are rarely used in aviation work due to time, space, and safety concerns. However, in order to get those sharp images, you must still provide your camera with a solid platform, especially in low light. Practice, practice, practice until the following technique becomes second nature to you.
Begin with your left hand bent and palm up. Then place the barrel of the lens in your left palm. If you open your hand and the lens drops, you’re not doing it correctly. Gravity should simply keep the lens in your palm. Your right hand should be holding the camera body and your finger on the shutter release. Activating the camera should require only a light touch of your finger, while firing the camera requires a little more pressure. You don’t want to fire the camera by moving your finger up and down. Bring your elbows up against your sides and use a rubber eyecup to bring the entire rig up against your face. Practice this until you’re confident shooting a stationary subject.
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MIRRORLESS CAMERA PLANE SPOTING