Spotting Equipment for Beginners

Hi everyone. I know a lot of people in the community go spotting at their local airports.

I was wondering what equipment to use. I don’t have any cameras for spotting (except my phone). My budget is around $200-$350 for a good spotting camera. (If this shouldn’t be in the spotting category, please let me know).

Thanks, Cbro4


Anything from Canon is great! The lens are what makes the camera amazing sometimes.

Canons can be anywhere from $100-$800+ and you can check any spotters thread and they will tell you what lens they used. Look it up and see.


The spotting god @JRRaviation should be with you shortly.


Hola me llamo Jacob.

I’m here to help ya. Are you looking for a DLSR type or a point and shoot?

DSLRs are cameras that let you change the lens and stuff that like, and are more complex and a little more expensive.

Point and shoots are easy to use but are sometimes not that great at producing the quality of DSLR cameras.

If you would like to know more on these types of cameras just let me know and I’d be happy to explain more and recommend some cameras to you.


Hey Jacob,

I was looking for a DSLR. I kind of want to use it for other things besides spotting, so I was looking at the Canon Rebel, Nikon D3400, or Lumix G5 or G7 (can’t remember which).

I personally use a Canon T5, which is apart of the Canon’s Rebel series. The Canon T5 is a great starter camera in a resonable price range. Canon Rebels are typically easier to use than Nikon’s D3000 series. Another great Rebel that has the same sensor but is cheaper than the T5 is the Canon T3i, but the hardware is easier to use (newer) in the T5. You can pick up a Canon T5 starter kit for around 450 dollars as new, or around 350 dollars used.


So the T5 is newer or older than the T3i? Just curious…

T3i was released in 2011, but the T5 was released in 2014.

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Ok. What about lenses? What do you normally use?

Would you still recommend that camera for short range? For SXM I spot from a building and look down at the airport but its really close.

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The range shouldn’t matter for the camera. It would be the lens.

Standard starter lens are the 18-55mm for close range and the 75-300 for long range.


So I take it you use the 75-300 most of the time?

Samples with T5: (75-300mm)



Ok. Nice pic of the 777, BTW.

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DSLRs are a better long term investment no matter what you choose.

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Ok. I think that’s what I’ll likely get then. I was just curious as to what people use. (Plus, I should probably take the advice from the spotting god himself)

That’s exactly what I thought. Especially since you can change the lenses to get different shots.

Lol to be honest, point and shoots are for dads taking pictures of their kids. no offense point and shooters


lol. Thank you for the help.