CYYZ Runway 5 Movements | September 8th, 2018 | Spotter Advice Requested!

Hello fellow IFC users!
So. I lied. I said on my last spotting topic that it would be my last one of the year. I was wrong.

I had the privilege of going on one last trip up to Toronto to get one last use out of my season pass at Canada’s Wonderland, but after visiting the park I got a chance to go back out to the airport-this time with a non iPhone!

My parents had an old Panasonic DMC-FZ70 sitting around the house, and they let me bring it!

Now, this thread will be formatted a little bit different than my normal ones. This was my first time handling a real camera of any type. I had taken a few practice shots at home but nothing as fast moving as an airplane. So, what I’m doing with this thread is twofold: I’m showcasing some of the pictures I took, but I’m also asking for advice. I know in this community we have a lot of talented and well-received spotters, so I would appreciate a few tips so I can improve in the future. With that being said, let’s get into it!

Airport: CYYZ (Toronto Pearson Int’l)
Equipment: Panasonic (Lumix) DMC-FZ70 Superzoom
Location: Director’s Gate on Dixie Road
Time: Between 5:00 and 7:30 pm EDT


Here’s a Westjet MAX, inbound from somewhere in Canada! The only one I saw actually. I captured this in a burst shot. This was when the light was actually ‘good’ (it was cloudy and fairly dark, but the light was there). You’ll see the light becomes a bit of an issue later on. I noticed the contrast on the planes against the cloudy sky, especially white and gray ones, was not good and when I tried to up the contrast during editing it would jack the grain up and the picture would become noisy. Any tips?


An Air Canada 777-300ER from Vancouver! This brings me to my second question: Framing. Framing smaller planes like the 737 is easier and I got it down (at least a little bit) during my session. But I never found out how to frame in a 777, A330, or A340. I would always be too zoomed out or too zoomed in. Does anyone have any rules of thumb? I know it probably depends on where you’re standing but maybe you guys know something.

Look who decided to show up again! My first time here Hainan sent in their Brown Kung Fu Panda but I failed miserably at getting a shot. This time I caught it lining up! Which brings me to my third question: Autofocus. The autofocus box on my camera is really small, and zoomed in like this, you can see it focused on the engine, but it’s a little blurry/unfocused in the background (same thing with the WJA. The nose is a little blurred). Is there a way to get it to focus on the whole subject?

Air Canada A320 lining up with a Rouge Brother (Rival? It’s a B763) in the back! I’m not sure if DSLRs with lenses do this, but my camera has a minimum (maximum?) F stop of 2.8, but only if the zoom is fully retracted. As soon as you hit 2x zoom, it jumps to 3.7. Then 4.6. By the time it hits 10x zoom (frames an E190) it’s at 5.6, and it won’t go lower. And that results in dark photos, and then I have to lower the shutter or increase the ISO, and either way makes it grainy. Is there a way to counteract this? This picture was taken zoomed in 50x ish at F5.6 and 1/300 and while it’s not super dark after editing, the original file was very dark.

An Air Canada CRJ! Don’t know the whereabouts of this plane as I was too focused on shooting but I believe it came in from YXE or YXU, not sure. I don’t have much else to say about this one other than it is a little bit grainy, but I think that’s due to the low light available as my ISO was 200 for this shot. Ideas?

Hey look, it’s the typical YYZ plane! Seriously YYZ gets way too many of these. At least it looks cool. I really liked how this one turned out (except the grain, but that’s kind of a reoccurring theme).

Don’t you wish this was the Banana Livery? I’ve seen that one around YYZ a few times. I love Air Transat’s livery though, it just looks so good! Sadly no new livery ones this time, maybe next time.

By the time I took the shot the sun had gone down to a point where it was being blocked by the 2 story building behind me, so once again grain became and issue. I don’t really understand, this was shot on ISO 400. Is there another factor that creates grain? F5.6 and 1/150 I think. Sad the F-Stop wouldn’t go lower.

This one was taken about 10 minutes prior to the sun setting behind the building. I tried experimenting with slower shutter speeds (this is 1/100) and it gave a nice glow effect that I really liked (and of course there’s grain -_-)

This was sure a nice surprise! Air Transat A310-300 coming in hot from Venice! This was my first time seeing an A310 in flight, and let me tell you, it’s a funny looking plane for sure. The way it comes in it just looks so stiff and uptight-imagine a guppy with stick legs.

Well, that includes my last spotting topic of the year no joke this time. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to head back out even though the light wasn’t the best especially for a beginner like me. As I’ve mentioned many times, if you’re a spotter, any tips would be greatly appreciated. Even if you’re not, if you wanna make a comment on what I could do better, go ahead. Say anything. I won’t get offended. It’s part of learning! And if you happened to make it all the way through this, then you can have this virtual cookie:

haha jk I already have 10 pictures :)

Anyways, thanks for staying with me. Hope at least someone enjoyed some of the pictures, I’ll be back next year, hopefully with a Rebel or something.


Very Beautiful photos! Really love the Air Canada 777


thanks! I feel like the ACA New Livery goes really well with the dark sky.

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Love the Sky Team Alitalia! Wish there were more Sky Team liveries in IF!


Thanks! And me too, they look great!

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Great photos Andrew! I really liked the AC A320 line-up shot as well as the Hainan B789 lineup shot.

Not really to do with the photos nor is it something you can control, but a brighter day with more front-lit lighting would’ve done wonders to the photos you have here 😊

Great set of shots! I will try to answer your many questions but brace yourself, the next part may be pretty long…

Here I would say that this is why nobody really likes cloudy days. In terms of a better contrast, you are kinda screwed like you were saying because if you try to add too much color, your grain will increase noticeably. Maybe try adding a bit (but not too much) of definition? That might help some.

I do not know of any “rule of thumb”, it really is up to you and how you want your shot to look. My only suggestion here is to try to be more zoomed out rather than zoomed in because you can always crop but you can never “back out”.

I can’t say I know much about this, but you can adjust your autofocus settings in your menu. There should be two options usually, single and continuous (One-shot and AI-servo for Canon). These simply make it easier to focus on moving or non-moving subjects.

Yes, this is normal. I think that you should be able to bring the shutter speed down to as low as 1/100 if your light is an issue, as long as you do not have shaky hands.

If your ISO was actually 200 then it should not be quite this grainy but if your aperture is super low (like f22) then you can get diffraction (in which the image can appear fuzzy).

The only other factor that causes grain I know of is physical camera heat (if you leave it in the sun or something and then immediately start shooting afterward).

Hopefully I helped you a little bit!


Awesome shots! Keep it up!

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You have no idea how helpful this was. Thanks so much!

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Glad to help! Also, I will be coming to Toronto in October, if you PM me maybe I could try to spot with you there!

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Thanks! Really wish the weather could’ve been better. First world problems lmao

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The Hainan photo looks nicee

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Thanks! Hope the bush didn’t ruin it that much

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