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  1. #1
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    First DSLR for aircraft/airshow photos - Need help!

    Hi,

    I'm not really familiar with camera specs or photography terms sorry - Long story short, I'm into taking photos of aircraft and have a few airshows lined up where I would like to get good, clear shots of the planes, etc.

    I want to get a decently priced DSLR with a lens that is capable of zooming well so I can capture the aircraft from where the standing areas are at the shows. I've been looking at the Nikon D3400 with the 18mm-55mm and 70mm-300mm DSLR/lens bundle and wanting to know if the 70-300mm lens would be adequate zoom wise? I just want to be able to zoom if required to capture clear photos of the whole planes. The camera itself doesn't have to be fancy, just needs to take clear photos haha.



    Just wanting any recommendations on cameras/lenses etc that wont break the bank. I'm currently using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 so i'm sure any DSLR would be a step up on that.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: First DSLR for aircraft/airshow photos - Need help!

    Quote Originally Posted by AusA380 View Post
    Hi,

    I'm not really familiar with camera specs or photography terms sorry - Long story short, I'm into taking photos of aircraft and have a few airshows lined up where I would like to get good, clear shots of the planes, etc.

    I want to get a decently priced DSLR with a lens that is capable of zooming well so I can capture the aircraft from where the standing areas are at the shows. I've been looking at the Nikon D3400 with the 18mm-55mm and 70mm-300mm DSLR/lens bundle and wanting to know if the 70-300mm lens would be adequate zoom wise? I just want to be able to zoom if required to capture clear photos of the whole planes. The camera itself doesn't have to be fancy, just needs to take clear photos haha.



    Just wanting any recommendations on cameras/lenses etc that wont break the bank. I'm currently using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 so i'm sure any DSLR would be a step up on that.

    Thanks!
    I'll start by saying the Panasonic TZ8 is a great little camera with one of the best lenses in a compact. However, It's zoom capability is a bit short on for the type of photography you're speaking of.

    For my two bobs worth I'd not recommend a DSLR with multiple lenses and the expense that goes with that at all, but a superzoom such as Panasonic FZ300 or Nikon P900.

    More than enough coverage for aircraft flying or on the ground and image quality more than acceptable.

    Here's a few shots taken with a Panasonic FZ300.

    Dash-8.jpg Take-off-1.jpg

    Lift-off.jpg Over-the-lagoon.jpg

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    Re: First DSLR for aircraft/airshow photos - Need help!

    Thanks for the reply! I've been looking into the Nikon P900 - It looks like it does exactly what I need, as well as being priced pretty well! I just want something that can zoom and take clear zoomed photos if needed. Thanks for the info!

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    Re: First DSLR for aircraft/airshow photos - Need help!

    I've also been looking at the FZ300 - it seems spec wise, its better than the Nikon, with the P900 having the crazy zoom. In reality, I probably don't need all that zoom and the 24x optical would be fine for my needs. Argh its so hard to decide haha. The Lumix TZ8 I currently has has 12x optical, which I think that zooms in pretty well, therefore the 24x would be a lot better than what I'm used to.

  5. #5
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    Re: First DSLR for aircraft/airshow photos - Need help!

    Quote Originally Posted by AusA380 View Post
    I've also been looking at the FZ300 - it seems spec wise, its better than the Nikon, with the P900 having the crazy zoom. In reality, I probably don't need all that zoom and the 24x optical would be fine for my needs. Argh its so hard to decide haha. The Lumix TZ8 I currently has has 12x optical, which I think that zooms in pretty well, therefore the 24x would be a lot better than what I'm used to.
    The Panasonic has quite a good lens and a feature I like is the remote control via an app on phone or IPad. It's also very good in macro mode and will focus very close retaining good depth.

    I've not used the P900 but looked at it when looking for a general purpose, grab it and go camera. I figure to make best use of the long zoom I would really need to carry a tripod too.

    I've shot two trips away just using the FZ300 and was quite happy with the results. Can show plenty of samples. These couple to illustrate the zoom capability.

    Kingfisher-2.jpg Top-of-the-tree.jpg

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    Re: First DSLR for aircraft/airshow photos - Need help!

    Do you get much noise in the photos using the FZ300? The issue I'm having with the TZ8 at the moment is once zoomed in, the photo is quite noisy. I just want to be able to take a decent, clear photo and be able to have this both with and without zoom. The zoom on the FZ300 is better than the TZ8 though, so I guess I wouldn't be using the digital zoom as much, like I am currently. I also only really take photos during the day and the lowest lighting would be on a cloudy/rainy day. Thanks for your help so far!

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    Re: First DSLR for aircraft/airshow photos - Need help!

    Quote Originally Posted by AusA380 View Post
    Do you get much noise in the photos using the FZ300? The issue I'm having with the TZ8 at the moment is once zoomed in, the photo is quite noisy. I just want to be able to take a decent, clear photo and be able to have this both with and without zoom. The zoom on the FZ300 is better than the TZ8 though, so I guess I wouldn't be using the digital zoom as much, like I am currently. I also only really take photos during the day and the lowest lighting would be on a cloudy/rainy day. Thanks for your help so far!
    Noise is related to high ISO settings rather than zoom. I limit the zoom to 600 mm equiv and use shutter priority relevant to the speed of what I'm photographing. I generally leave ISO on auto most of the time but try not to use much above 800.
    As the lens is pretty fast at 2.8 I rarely have noise as an issue. Image quality does suffer in low light and extended Zoom past 600 mm. (Loss of detail) I'll give you a sample of a bird shot at 600 mm in bad light. No problems at all in good light.

    P2 .jpg

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    Re: First DSLR for aircraft/airshow photos - Need help!

    Still, that image isn't that bad - I'll be shooting outdoors in good light too! I really think that the FZ300 will be suitable for my needs, and the fact it can shoot 4k video is a bonus too. Planning on heading to the shop to check one out . If I end up with one, I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for your help!

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    Re: First DSLR for aircraft/airshow photos - Need help!

    Quote Originally Posted by AusA380 View Post
    Still, that image isn't that bad - I'll be shooting outdoors in good light too! I really think that the FZ300 will be suitable for my needs, and the fact it can shoot 4k video is a bonus too. Planning on heading to the shop to check one out . If I end up with one, I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for your help!
    No worries, it's a very versatile camera.

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    Re: First DSLR for aircraft/airshow photos - Need help!

    I ended up purchasing the FZ300 and got to try it quickly this afternoon - Managed to get to the local airport just as the sun was going down, it's definitely a big improvement! Pics that were taken at 600mm are a tiny bit grainy/noisy, but I'm thinking that could be due to some settings I haven't configured yet or due to dimming light haha. So far I'm loving it, just got to set up some settings and I think I'll be set.

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    Re: First DSLR for aircraft/airshow photos - Need help!

    Quote Originally Posted by AusA380 View Post
    I ended up purchasing the FZ300 and got to try it quickly this afternoon - Managed to get to the local airport just as the sun was going down, it's definitely a big improvement! Pics that were taken at 600mm are a tiny bit grainy/noisy, but I'm thinking that could be due to some settings I haven't configured yet or due to dimming light haha. So far I'm loving it, just got to set up some settings and I think I'll be set.
    I recon you'll be happy with it.. just watch your nose on the touch screen!

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    Re: First DSLR for aircraft/airshow photos - Need help!

    Yes, my nose has caused it to focus at the top right of the image many times! Here are some shots I took at the airport today during the day - I was just using the IA mode. The images have been cropped - Image 3 is the best in my opinion. I'll have to learn the manual modes - Probably get a better image that way too. In image 1, do you think the grainyness could be caused due to the image being too light/exposed? They're JPEGS too and are quite small files.

    1.jpg
    2.jpg
    3.jpg

  13. #13
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    Re: First DSLR for aircraft/airshow photos - Need help!

    Can't see much wrong with any of them at the resolution I get through the upload.
    For the aircraft shots I've done with that camera, I've used shutter priority and set at 1/1000, set ISO to 400 and let the camera choose the aperture.

    For what it's worth with the touch screen, I set the focus spot then turn the screen around so it holds it where I want it.

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