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Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

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Micky S
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Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by Micky S » Mon Jan 15, 2024 2:47 pm

Hello All,

Firstly, apologies as I am sure you have read and answered numerous similar threads. However, I want to purchase my first DSLR Camera either new or used and would really appreciate some expert advice. With so many cameras on the market I am finding it hard to narrow down a model. I will mainly use the camera for airshows/in flight aviation photography and just wanted advice on what would be best to look at in your experience. I am looking at the $0- £800 area.

Thanks again for any help, it is really helpful and appreciated.

Michael

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daggerfan
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by daggerfan » Mon Jan 15, 2024 11:05 pm

You'll get far more bang for your buck if you explore the secondhand market. Buy from reputable dealers, who usually offer a six-month warranty, some even do 12 months. I have bought from MPB, Ffordes, Wex and London Camera Exchange with no problems. Of course, other dealers are available!

Make sure lenses at least include front and rear caps and lenshood. Camera bodies should come with battery, charger, strap, body cap, maybe USB cable and instructions. Look for a low shutter count example (my preference would be under 20,000 actuations).

Other members will have their own brand preferences and camera/lens combinations, but being a Nikon user here's my tuppence worth:

Camera body: Nikon D7100, or if you can stretch to it preferably a D7200. Standard zoom lens: Nikon AF-S 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR DX. Telephoto zoom lens: Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR. That should leave some cash from your budget to buy a spare battery, memory cards and perhaps lens protection filters. And a bag to put everything in!

Do your research, compare dealer prices and check out user reviews online, and if you can get along to a shop try handling various cameras to see which ones you like.

Hope this helps.

Dave Smith
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by Dave Smith » Tue Jan 16, 2024 12:02 pm

All that daggerfan says plus get one in your hands and see how it feels. I prefer the feel of Canon over Nikon .

Richelli
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by Richelli » Tue Jan 16, 2024 12:43 pm

From personal use I would recommend a Nikon D500 and either a sigma 150-600 lens or a Nikon 200-500. The Nikon lens is slightly slower to focus on fast moving birds in flight but has better image stabilization and the shots just seemed to pop more. You dont say if the cost is for a body and lens or just a body. There are some great deals to be had on used D500s now on Facebook and the used kit sites as more people move to mirrorless. The D500 is a crop sensor body not full frame but that has never bothered me, and 10 frames per second means you'll struggle to miss a shot. This is just from my personal use so I cannot compare to others. I did start with a Nikon D5500 but soon realised it wasnt any good for what I was trying to get out of it. You can look at my Flikr feed to see all the shots I have taken with it. Obviously they have been edited before they are posted on there.

https://flic.kr/ps/3jyXjJ

Archer
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by Archer » Tue Jan 16, 2024 3:31 pm

As for Canon vs Nikon, try to get hold of an example of each and see which layout of controls you prefer. I'm a Nikon user, so heavily biased I'm afraid.

I have both a D7100 and a D500, if it's your first camera I would suggest looking for a D7100 (or something from the D7xxx range) and a 70-300mm as that would fit in your budget and will get you a pretty decent starting point. If you explore the 2nd hand options, you can always sell these on later and upgrade to a D500 with 200-500mm or the Sigma equivalent. I would not start with that combination though, as the learning curve on the D500 is a lot steeper. The 200-500mm lens is also a much larger investment and a lot more bulky and heavy to hold. You could also investigate a D5xxx model but these are a bit limited in the non-menu-based controls and it is a significantly smaller body to hold.

Edited to add: these are all APS-C or crop sensor bodies, so you will get the equivalent of a 105-450mm full-frame range with a 70-300mm lens. A useful thing if you're going to be photographing aeroplanes. In a similar way, the 200-500mm lens will provide the equivalent of what a 300-750mm would do on a full-frame body.

Micky S
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by Micky S » Sat Jan 20, 2024 11:52 pm

Thank you so much for the advice. With not having a great knowledge it is a minefield really with so many bodies to choose from. I should have clarified that my budget was for the body and lens if possible. Thanks again as the advice is truly appreciated.

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daggerfan
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by daggerfan » Tue Jan 23, 2024 3:41 pm

You say your budget was for body and lens if possible, which I'd assumed anyway, but if you're planning on taking in airshows you could really do with a two-lens setup, with a standard zoom for static aircraft and telephoto zoom for flying shots. Hence my recommendations in my earlier reply if you go down the Nikon route.

I would avoid all-in-one so-called "superzoom" lenses (eg 16-300mm, 18-400mm etc). You'd get better image quality with a two-lens setup. Just my opinion. Other members might think differently.

Hope that helps.

Supra
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by Supra » Wed Jan 24, 2024 12:28 pm

+1 for Daggerfan's previous comments. If mega-range lenses were that special, why would anybody have a multi-lens kit-bag? An 18-400mm zoom is gonna be a "Jack of all trades, Master of none!" type of set-up.
Yes, it performs its function for a price-point. Will you still be happy with the results in 6 months time? Probably Not! ;)

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Black Mike
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by Black Mike » Wed Jan 24, 2024 4:18 pm

Agree with D7100/D7200 starter. Also consider the Nikon 18-140 which is a good lens and gives a bit more overlap with a 70-300.

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BMrider
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by BMrider » Wed Jan 24, 2024 6:08 pm

I have a few Nikon bodies, The body/lens combo that would suit your budget and give best image quality is a D300 or D300s with a Nikon 300mm f/4 D IF-ED AF-S NIKKOR Prime Lens (prime lenses will generally give better image quality than most zooms) also if you have some left over, a used 1.4 Nikon teleconverter, (using the tele and 300mm will give about 630mm equivalent for the longer shots) and if any left of your budget a short zoom lens for the statics, all can be found on that auction site

Some examples of sold 300mm lenses https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from ... Complete=1

D300 bodies go for 100 to 200

A example of a sold teleconverter https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/204614686530 ... R67tmcqnYw

A example image using the recommended set up

ImageMirage 2000D by Mark Handley, on Flickr
Last edited by BMrider on Mon Jan 29, 2024 7:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/65081372@N04/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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B58Hustler
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by B58Hustler » Sun Jan 28, 2024 6:31 pm

Nice pic BM, you've done what I often do i.e. replying with advice which includes a picture for reference.
It's not possible to provide better proof of your rationale than that but for some odd reason it always kills the post off!

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BMrider
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by BMrider » Mon Jan 29, 2024 7:22 am

B58Hustler wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2024 6:31 pm
Nice pic BM, you've done what I often do i.e. replying with advice which includes a picture for reference.
It's not possible to provide better proof of your rationale than that but for some odd reason it always kills the post off!
Doubt my post has killed the thread :lol: more likely the OP hasn't been on since Jan 21 (3 days before my post) and hasn't seen it?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/65081372@N04/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Micky S
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by Micky S » Mon Jan 29, 2024 9:19 pm

Thanks again for taking the time and providing some valuable information. Thanks also for the picture BMrider. It’s great to see what results you can acheive. I will definitely be taking a look at the D7100 and D7200. Would love to see some in flight photos with this camera. Thanks again for all of your help. I appreciate the time you have taken.

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XWP29
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by XWP29 » Mon Jan 29, 2024 10:24 pm

Micky
I hesitated to reply as there is lots of advice above, however it seems one make only and there is a wide range of camera makes out there and you should make your own mind up on which one to go with. If you meet up with other togger’s or spotters most will try to help or give advice when there is little action on. If you have the same manufacturer of camera as your peer group that will help you.

I’ve tried after market lens and found them generally to be OK but not as a tuned to the camera as the cameras manufacturer own. Also it be an idea to check out the Flickr pages of us lot who have responded and see if you like the various results and maybe the modern military thread too.

This link is quite helpful for the basic’s
https://www.military-airshows.co.uk/air ... basics.htm
GRIM REAPERS SUPPORTER

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BMrider
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by BMrider » Tue Jan 30, 2024 9:36 am

Hi Micky
You asked for some pics from a D7100/ 7200 Nikon camera, here's a selection of 4 taken with a D7200 and Nikon 300mm f/4 D IF-ED AF-S NIKKOR Prime Lens (Prime lens is important to get best image quality)
There's a link to the album on flickr these were taken from if you want to see more, (also some from D300 body)

ImageSU27 Support by Mark Handley, on Flickr

ImageHHA Hunter by Mark Handley, on Flickr

ImageRoyal Air Force Hercules by Mark Handley, on Flickr

ImageNew tyres please by Mark Handley, on Flickr

There is a place for zooms of course, zooms used in this album Latest model Nikon 70-200mm (Quality but pricey) Tamron 100-400 (Surprisingly good for aftermarket lens)

Link to album;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/65081372@ ... 9002/page2
http://www.flickr.com/photos/65081372@N04/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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B58Hustler
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by B58Hustler » Tue Jan 30, 2024 6:16 pm

A couple more examples with D7200+300F4




ImageTexan by Jayson Cork, on Flickr




Image'In the flare' by Jayson Cork, on Flickr




ImageF-22A by Jayson Cork, on Flickr

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XWP29
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by XWP29 » Tue Jan 30, 2024 6:46 pm

It takes some time and practice to get to the level demonstrated.

A zoom really is the best place to start, a prime needs more experience basically to get it pointing onto an aircraft correctly. Particularly fast moving jets that are coming into view quickly on take off for instance. If you are further away from a subject with a prime it’s easier but as there is no zoom you have to move backwards or forwards to frame a shot if there is time or crop the picture afterwards if not standing in the exact position.

70-300mm or 100-400mm on a crop sensor is fine for most airfields and a beginner, they are all round lenses. Once you master them time to look for a prime.

DPreview has some good advise.

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/42931 ... hotography

Also some info here.

https://www.shootsmart.co.uk/how-to-pho ... -aircraft/
GRIM REAPERS SUPPORTER

slogen51
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by slogen51 » Wed Jan 31, 2024 9:18 am

Agree totally with XWP29 - Zooms are far more versatile especially at Airshows/Exercises and mean you are carrying less kit around. I have a 300mm prime and basically it is a one trick pony and you can end up with photos of just half an eagle like the one above.

I think the wording "Prime" lens is nowadays misleading as it Implies they are superior. They might typically be faster and smaller then a zoom but the lack of versatility is a very high price to pay especially as modern day Zooms in good light are equally as capable.

Obviously it all depends on what and where you are taking most of your photos - on base close in and or large objects or more distant photos such as at Lakenheath or anywhere outside of the fence. You typically would use a different set up at Heathrow or Mildenhall than you would at Lakenheath . At Lakenheath a 100-400 ( I am Nikon so 70-300) is enough and the lower end generally is ok at Mildenhall for aircraft in the air but at Folly road where aircraft can be really close and large then a smaller zoom or a small prime is required.

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B58Hustler
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by B58Hustler » Wed Jan 31, 2024 9:04 pm

The word 'Prime' is in no way misleading.
I have a Nikon 300 f4 'prime' worth about £200 and a Sigma 150-600 Sport worth about £1000 and the zoom gets very little use.
The images from the prime when massively cropped are on par with those taken with the zoom natively.
But I do understand the versatility argument.

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cat1
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Re: Head Spinning - Newbie DSLR Purchase

Post by cat1 » Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:31 am

Micky S wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2024 2:47 pm
Hello All,

Firstly, apologies as I am sure you have read and answered numerous similar threads. However, I want to purchase my first DSLR Camera either new or used and would really appreciate some expert advice. With so many cameras on the market I am finding it hard to narrow down a model. I will mainly use the camera for airshows/in flight aviation photography and just wanted advice on what would be best to look at in your experience. I am looking at the $0- £800 area.

Thanks again for any help, it is really helpful and appreciated.

Michael
Hi Michael,

Welcome to the world of aviation photography!

1. Just find a camera and lens that doesn't break the budget (any canon or Nikon dslr will be fine + a 70-300 mm lens), start from the bottom and work up.
2. It is a skill that grows, give it time and the results will come.
3. Do your research, but don't let others opinions and ideas change what you want to do.
4. the guys on here are geniuses with cameras, look past the off comments that appear from time to time and concentrate on what the helpful ones are saying.

All the very best! :thumbs:
Cheap cameras aren't good. Good cameras aren't cheap

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