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Thread: What's Your Go-To Spotting Equipment?

  1. #1
    Senior Member sdspinelli2's Avatar
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    What's Your Go-To Spotting Equipment?

    I have always been interested in what gear everyone uses for general aviation photography/spotting. I thought I'd start a thread asking the question. This might also help others looking to purchase new gear. What gear are you currently rocking and what do you think your next purchase will be?
    I currently shoot a D7000, my go to lens for spotting is my Nikon 70-200 f4. I will be ordering a TC17 soon to get a little bit more range. I know it'll stop down my aperture but I normally shoot planes at f8 anyway.

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    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Nikon D800 Primary with either 200-400mm f/4 or 70-200mm f/2.8 with or without TC as needed
    Nikon D3 Secondary. Paired with either of the above lenses and usually only at dusk or for night shots due to better high ISO performance.

    D3 is primary at airshows due to speed, frame rate and buffer depth. Typically it will pair with the 200-400mm f/4 and a TC-17 1.7x teleconverter.

    I usually carry all my gear as you never know what may happen especially if out all day. So the 14-24mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, an Tokina Zoom Fisheye and a 50mm f/1.8 are in the bag with a speedlight.
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

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    Member CO777ER's Avatar
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    5DIII + 100-400mm is my go-to equipment. I also have a 24-105mm that I use for static shots.

  5. #5
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    Not looking to purchase anything else yet, trying to get better photos with what I have: Olympus E-520 & ZD 70-300. Prolly, most amateur gear on here.
    [URL="http://www.airport-data.com/photographers/gbmax:5834/"]My Aircraft Photos[/URL]

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    Senior Member Zee71's Avatar
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    When I am shooting locally my go to gear now is my D7100 (wish the buffer was bigger), with typically the 80-400mm or the 70-200mm with or without the 1.4 TC. I keep the 24-120mm in my bag just in case too.

    For most of my night shooting I usually will turn to the D4 with the 70-200mm f/2.8 attached.

    Hopefully I'll be able to hit a few airshows this coming year and use the D4 with the 300mm + 1.7 TC attached.

    When I travel I select my gear accordingly and want to cover a reasonable focal range. I don't want to kick my self in the butt for missing out on a shot. For some non-serious shooting and a walk around lens I use my 18-300mm.

    On my recent work trip to LA I only brought the following gear which worked for me:
    - D7100
    - 80-400mm
    - 70-200mm
    - 18-300mm
    - 1.4 TC
    - Tripod and shutter release cable
    Mark
    Queens, NY

    My website: http://mbsphotography.smugmug.com
    My photos at: JetPhotos and ANet

  7. #7
    Administrator Landing Lights's Avatar
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    Canon T3i with a 100-400L is my normal for spotting. I just added a 24-105L for when I need less reach, and I wish I had that lens when I was in LA in October. I also keep a 50mm f1.8 with me for wider angle night shots.
    Ben Granucci, Wappingers Falls, NY
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  8. #8
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    Regular spotting:

    EOS 1D Mark III + EF 70-200 F4L, 1.4x Extender II on/off as needed
    EOS 1Ds or a 7D as backups, depending on what the situation is like.

    The 7D is always my primary for airshows due to the extra reach, large buffer and good MP count (besides, I just bought the 1D3 a few months ago).

    For airshows/fly-ins, I typically bring the EF 28-135 IS and the Tokina 12-24 f4 II for statics.

    Previously I used a Sigma 80-400 and an EF 28-70 f2.8L but they're both out of coMmission (the Sigma broke, the Canon fell out of my truck and the focusing seems to be off).

    I'm planning to add either the 100-400L or the 70-200 f2.8L IS II/2x Extender combo soon, for extra reach and IS (my 70-200 is unstabilized).

  9. #9
    Senior Member ANITIX87's Avatar
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    I recently went through a major gear overhaul.

    I used to use Canon 50D + Canon 100-400L IS USM.

    Now, my new gear is: Canon 5DMkIII + Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 (with 1.4xTC if needed).

    I've lost a significant amount of "equivalent" focal length, but the quality of the new set-up is miles better and I can crop quite significantly.
    Antonis Panayotatos
    Owner, Photographer
    www.stellaryear.com

    Canon 5D MkIII, Canon 7DMkII: Canon 24-70L USM II, Sigma 50mm f/1.4, Sigma 85mm f/1.4ART, Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro, Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 DG OS HSM

  10. #10
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Antonis, you need to update you signature
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  11. #11
    Program Coordinator
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    Canon 5DIII with 70-200 2.8 II
    Canon 5DII with 24 1.4
    7D as backup when I need the range
    400 2.8 available when I really need some range!

  12. #12
    Senior Member NickPeterman's Avatar
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    I travel simple for the most part

    7D + 100-400mm
    50D + 28-135

    Really wanted to replace the 28-135 with a 24-105 before leaving for Australia, but that seems financially improbable now...

  13. #13
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    I probably have the most amateur gear here
    Canon 30D + Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS
    also have the kit 18-55 for short distance, IE terminal, cockpit, and cabin shots.

    Hopefully will be upgrading glass soon, but with college and flying costs to pay for, that may not be for a while. Oh well, I'll keep shooting and enjoying the hobby!

  14. #14
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    The 18-55 has to be, by far, one of the best lenses in relation to how much it costs (not sure now, but back when I started taking photography seriously, the Rebel XT kit was $100 more than the body only), certainly not L, but not bad for the price.

  15. #15
    Senior Member megatop412's Avatar
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    Nikon D300s+MD10 battery grip(replaces a D90 that I still use around the house)
    Nikkor 70-300mmVR
    Nikkor 12-24mmf/4
    Sigma 150-500mmOS
    Radio Shack PRO528 scanner
    Nikon binoculars

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