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How to get started in aviation photography

Posted: Fri May 14, 2021 7:08 pm
by JimieSitu
Let me preface this by saying I am in no way a photographer (yet) I don't even own a camera. So my knowledge is quite limited. But I've been surrounded by aviation my whole life and I would love to get into aviation photography. I attend multiple airshows each year so I figured that would be a good place to start. If any of you guys would be willing to share any tips on buying a camera, the different models, editing, photography beginner tips, or if any of you actually shoot aircraft, that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

Re: How to get started in aviation photography

Posted: Sat May 15, 2021 2:44 pm
by JakTrax
Each individual is of course just that — individual — so what camera gear you need for a particular type of aircraft photography will vary depending on your preferences. Those who prefer their airshow photography will use similar gear but by no means the same. A good base is a fast APS-C (crop sensor) camera, such as Canon's 7D series, with an ultra-telephoto zoom lens (you'll find the Canon EF 100-400L features heavily in airshow photographers' kit bags, plus offerings from Sigma and Tamron, such as the 150-600mm biggies). What you really need to determine is what sort of maximum reach you'll need, and what sort of quality you want to get out of your gear. Full-frame (old 35mm format equivalent) cameras offer better image quality overall but they are more expensive (especially if you want a sports/action one, which you will for airshows) and you lose effective reach with your lenses (key word there, effective). The Canon EF 100-400L MkII is the benchmark for airshow photography and offers unrivalled image quality... but for some it doesn't quite have the reach (particularly when mounted on a full-frame body). Those people will therefore typically prefer the Sigma or Tamron 150-600s, and despite their image quality being slightly inferior they are favourable due to their extra reach. Other people use exorbitantly-priced ultra-telephoto prime lenses but they are less versatile. What you get for the loss of versatility is, however, even better image quality.