Is a 100-400 mm (extends to 600mm) Leica lens good for plane spotting?

I have had a huge love for aviartion and photography, and i want to bring them together,

Does anyone recommend the specific lens above?
Or any other lens (it has to be leica as i have a leica camera).

Also i have no idea what topic to put this is, so if you have to move it, please do!

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I’d suggest you move this into #real-world-aviation.

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Thanks @Ecoops123 for moving it!

Depends on what you want to spot, i have the sigma 150-600 mm lens and it works great for when you are at the airport but if you want to to do contrail spotting I would suggest the p1000 or fz80

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Hey mate!
What are you referring to with extends to 600mm?

I highly suggest the 100-400 for plane spotting but it really depends on the location you are shooting at. Sometimes it tends to be a very big lens.

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The lens is 100-400mm, but you can pull it out a bit more to extend it to 600mm.

Its about 3-1 mi when on approach, 2 mi when takeoff.

Here is a reference picture of where i usually plane spot.

If you are going to spend money on a lens, I would look into the more named branded lens such as sigma or tamron. I would recommend either th 100-400mm, 70-200mm or even the 150-600mm lens. You can get the G1 versions of those lens less than what you would get the Leica one at

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Planespotting gear requirements are really low for airliners. You won’t have any issue spotting with this combo.

An “all weather” setup will of course cost you more but in sunny conditions the differences are minimal.

You talk about an 100-400 that can turn into a -600mm lens, is it an integrated extender or something else. You’ve got my interest!

If this is this one, then you’ll need to buy a separate part.

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Yep! Thats what im going for. I do have the part. I tried looking into using Leica for planespotting, but virtually no one uses them. I have a 75mm that works pretty well, but at late noon the planes seem invisible.

And yes, it is.

I’m not sure what runway you plan on spotting with that but I will say that anything over a mile is generally entirely unspottable unless it is very cold that day because of heat haze. Good glass will not fix heat haze.


Huh, thanks. Usually its not scorching hot.
I used a scope and you could clearly see planes over 2.5 miles away.
Of course the weather changes but its usually fine.

You can clearly see the plane of course, but try taking a photo and checking out the detail and then get back to me. The fact that the aircraft are airborne helps a little but I think you’d be hard pressed to get a clean shot in summer.

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Is it okay if i use a 75 mm? I currently do not have this lens yet.

A 75mm is not going to cover that distance. I would think a 100-400 would get you in close enough to have the plane fill up an adequate amount of the frame for 33L. If you move a little bit north on that island you can reasonable shoot 27 arrivals with a 75mm but you will probably need to crop a bit on anything that isn’t a heavy.

Hmm alright. I can go to take 22L pics in a different location. And then ill show you it.

Ill get back to you in about 2-3 days. Or 5.

I use a 150-600mm lens and it’s unnecessary for most commercial airports.

The whole lens is unnecessary or a specific amount of focal length? Im sure it can move on how much focal length you need.

Realistically you’re not going to need 500+ mm to spot airliners. I have it because I spot military and it’s necessary for the small jets.