Best Budget Spotting Camera

Hey all,
I know there are some very experienced spotters on here. Could any of you guys please give some good options? Around $175 maximum.

Plain simple: Just use your phone ;)


LUNIX TZ41 is a nice one.

What I am using right now, really, it doesn’t work well.

I have the Nikon Coolpix L830. It’s pretty basic (not a DSLR or SLR) and it’s relatively cheap - I think I paid $150 for it at the time.

Here’s my spotting thread where I used the same camera:

Here are some of the tech specs and other information:

This is a discontinued product so you’ll have to order it somewhere else (eBay, Amazon, etc).


If you can squeeze up to $200/250-$300 you could look into second hand DSLRs


You will not find any good DSLRs until you get into the $400 range minimum.

Point and shoots are cheaper but plane spotting with them are hard.

Save up until you have enough money to get a decent beginner’s DSLR would be my best advice.


Then pony up the money, because lenses don’t buy themselves!

I was happy to look at D3100s and the like before almost dying at the price of lenses. Anyone have any recommendations for good F-mount lenses for planespotting?

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I got a Canon Powershot SX60HS for around $425. It’s an amazing camera with 65 optical zoom and 260 digits zoom:)


Good grief all this camera lingo. lol I used my iPad camera for my spotting videos at O’Hare which will be coming to FVAs channel soon. I have to say for being the dirt lowest I can be…the camera on my iPad isn’t bad.

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I have Nikon D5500,works good but need get zoom

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Maybe a second hand d3300? They’re a decent camera and lenses can be relatively cheap.


Check out some websites like these below:

(Never heard of the second one. Looks legit)

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I agree with Misha. Save up a little more, get a nice DSLR second hand, like a Cannon Rebel or a Nikon D3200. An iPhone is good, but the zoom is bad, not good for spotting unless you can get within 100 feet of the planes. Its great for close up, but all zoom is digital, except for on 7+, and only 12 mp. Most cameras are optical, which is much better quality. What I use is a Sony A99 II with a 300mm lens, which is great for spotting.

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I also believe that once you get a DSLR, the quality is not that much greater the more you pay. The difference between a $1000 DSLR and a $3000 DSLR is minimum, but the difference between a $75 camera and a $300 DSLR is exponential. Lens also plays a large part.

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Maybe buy some some short of Nikon S6000 series camera. I have a S6300 and it is great!

Bridge Camera wise, the Canon SX60 HS is really good. 16.1MP, 65x Optical Zoom, Full HD filming and WiFi connection. Several other features as well, check it out

Also check out the Sony HX300 as well, 20.4MP, 50x Optical although this only allows filming up to 720p.

If you’re thinking of DSLRs

Nikon D3300, 24.2 MP, 1080p Full HD Video and comes with 18-55mm VR Image Stabilization Lens

Canon EOS 700D, Vari Angle LCD touch screen, 18MP Hybrid CMOS AF sensor, Full 1080p HD video and comes with choices of 18-55mm and 18-135mm Canon EF-S lenses

These are my top picks from experience, and they are all reasonably priced. Similar cameras built by the same brands will be of similar quality and specifications. Do a lot of research into it first to make sure you make the right choice :)

P.S I have a Canon EOS 700D and it’s bloody brilliant! PM me if you need any other help


They not cheap in Europe D5500 around 800€

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