this is “urgent”!!!

the united a321neo is coming to my local airport tomorrow. it is coming after sunset.

i have never spotted at night before.

i will be spotting in a place with not much light. not many lampposts for lighting.


does ANYONE know the right camera settings for this situation?

for example, this is the type of angle I will be spotting from:


Try watching a couple YouTube videos for beginner night photography tutorials.

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Shutter speed not too fast, maybe 1/500 or around there, aperture as low as you can go, ISO around 3200 or 6400 depending on your other settings, just play around and take test pictures until you like it

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thank you!!!

Idk man, my photography skills are not the best. I’m just decent at editi-

Crop sensor? Before I say anything, lower your expectations.

That being said, 1/60 is probably a safe shutter. I feel like most people should be able to hit at least a couple in sequence at 1/60. If you’re confident in your panning ability, anywhere 1/30-1/50 works too and will help you keep ISO down but I wouldn’t go slower than that. Aperture wide open (probably somewhere between 4-6.3 depending on lens). I usually run auto-ISO dialed in to about 1 stop dark. Shoot raw, sit on the shutter when it gets close to side-on (don’t start too early else you’ll overrun your buffer), and once again do not expect to hit anything (you will also need LR denoise and a good editing hand to get anything out of it afterwards). If you get a good shot, cool, if you don’t, that’s expected.

Edit: just saw you have a D3400, a 150-600, and a 75-300. The side-on shot is the easiest time to hit, so if that’s between 75-150mm then you need to take the 75 (only you know the spot so it’s up to you to figure this out). If it’s above that I would probably recommend taking the 150mm. Not sure which version you have but @Altaria55 used one in LAX mounted to a 5DIV (which is admittedly a much better camera) but it was able to lock on autofocus wise which I think the 75-300 might struggle with since it’s older architecture. You might be giving up 1/3 stop of light (I don’t have the aperture breakpoints for the 75-300 so I’m not sure) but I think it’s worth it.

This is f/2.8, 1/60, ISO12800 on my full frame.

Edit 2: It’s actually 1/100 ISO10000 but I think 1/60 should work fine for you if you’re further back. When you get really close up like I am you need to increase shutter else you’ll get the nose and tail with motion blur but the center sharp. If you’re past 100mm you should be alright.

This is pitch black. At least 5 stops dark.




Stunning shot 😍😍

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Your shots tho 😏😏 (Andrew is also very good)


This is probably to late since it’s after sunset but i had terrible panning shots at night trying to learn my first time. I few examples are here to give my settings, with the exception of the American E175 taking off was my only decent one.

It takes alot of practice and more knowledge then of basic settings to get anything decent. I have the D3500 with the 70-300mm.
ISO 11,400 - F4.8 - 1/160

ISO 5600 - F4.8 - 1/160

ISO 18,000 F4.5 1/160

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He said the aircraft is arriving tomorrow so he should be fine.


No need to laugh at me just because I didn’t know, I don’t have experience with night spotting and it was just a guess.

better off to not say anything and let someone else who knows what they are doing explain


Honestly don’t see the prob with trying to help, If I was the creator I would want a lot of responses so I can get the best results, but thanks 👍


While I agree with the first part, with something as fickle as night spotting if you have to guess it’s better to not say anything because chances are it won’t be correct. Providing info that may be wrong just makes it more confusing for OP.

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Thanks for the nice response : )

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hey! I will be taking the shot when the plane is on final, so it will still be about 400 feet off the ground when i take it. i won’t have any ground light to work with. I will also be fairly far away so I need to take the 150-600 otherwise it will be too small. will it still work?

It should but you will suffer on image quality a little bit. This is f/5.6, 1/15, ISO12800 with no outside light. I can go down to 1/15 because I have a mirrorless and it’s got IBIS which is cheating but I shot this as a “well exposed” night shot. You can shoot like 1.5 stops darker which would give you 1/40 or 1/50 to work with and you will most likely be at f/5 depending on distance so that’s 1/60 equivalent. It will still be very grainy but the priority for you should be getting that plane sharp. It is much easier to fix a noisy photo than a blurry one. Get there early and practice on planes before it. If you find you can’t hit 1/60 then go to 1/80 or even 1/100. It will make it noisier but it’s better than no shot at all. If you find that 1/60 is easy try 1/50 or 1/40. Also, if you choose the 150-600 make sure it’s on image stabilizer mode 2.

Oh I’m not laughing at you I just thought it was funny

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man you are a lifesaver. thank you so so much bro!