Tips for Plane-Spotting

Hello, IFC,

I have been trying to improve my spotting skills without much success and I need some help. I would like to learn how to do some professional plane spotting. I especially see @Cameron_Stone, @Matt737 and @Moritz posting their great photos and I would like to be taught how to get some nice shots.
Here are some of my questions:

1: I have a Canon SX60 HS, is that a good (enough) camera for plane spotting?
2: Can someone tell me what software they use for editing and how to do it?
3: Does Optical Zoom make the quality worse?
4: Do the people I tagged above use zoom?

and any other advice is greatly accepted!
I would like to take some very good photos and (possibly) post them on AP. net or Jetphotos.
So far, here is my best pic:
Please help me get better!
Thank You So Much!


@Cameron_Stone is replying…


Hey! To answer your questions:

1: Yes and no. I started with the exact same camera. You can get by with it for a while as a starter camera, but if you want to do it as something more than a little hobby, I would recommend an upgrade to a higher quality camera. The only thing the SX60 has over my current camera is the ability to contrail spot. The toggle zoom can prove to be quite ineffective, especially when up close.

2: I use Lightroom and Photoshop, with the majority of my editing done on Lightroom. Everyone has their own style, so I won’t tell you specifically what I do because it’s worth figuring out what you like on your own. For more standard photography (JetPhotos mostly), I crop the sides, level, sharpen, and reduce noise in Lightroom and an add-on group of apps called Nik Collection (which unfortunately isn’t free anymore). I then add contrast and add or reduce brightness, and crop the verticals down to a correct ratio in Photoshop.

3: No. Optical zoom is the zoom you want. It’s the natural amount of zoom the lens can do. Digital zoom is the quality-reducing one. It takes the fully zoomed-in image, and effectively crops it further, zooming in on the image portrayed in the camera as opposed to the subject itself.

4: Yes. Kind of hard to spot without zoom. Different amounts and styles (crop sensor, wide angle, fisheye, etc) help and hinder different aspects, so if you can afford it, get a couple different kinds of lenses and maybe even multiple bodies, to see what you like and/or to use in different experiences. I only have 2 lenses and one body, so I can’t really speak to the worth of extra bodies or anything, but I am looking at getting a longer lens, hopefully in the near future, to get the quality of my shots up even more.

Keep practicing is the main advice I give anyone. Nothing comes naturally - I’ve been at this for 2.5 years and still have a ways to go. Find your own style and niche and do what you like, and take opportunities to learn along the way. Good luck in the future man! Can’t wait to see your shots :)


Thank you so much, Cameron for the explanatory, kind and very descriptive reply!

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Great Photos!

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This might help!


Do you know any good photo editor softwares that are free?

The mobile versions of Lightroom and Photoshop are free as far as I know, but their features are a lot more limited. I don’t think there are many others that are the same kind of app as LR or PS that you can get for free, sorry.

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  1. The Canon SH60-HS is a superzoom bridge camera. It will work just fine when starting out (I used to use something similar) but if you’re serious about spotting or photography in general then you should consider upgrading to a DSLR/mirrorless interchangeable lens setup. I currently use a Canon EOS 100D with a Tamron 150-600mm lens. At current used prices this setup would cost in the region of £800 in the UK.

  2. I use Polarr for editing. It is one of the better apps available for mobile. Take photos in RAW format if you plan on editing them. RAW files preserve all the data in the image which will give a better quality image after editing. I won’t go into the actual editing process here, there are plenty of tutorials and videos available which should answer any questions you may have.

  3. Optical zoom is good. Optical zoom changes the focal length of the lens which means there is no significant loss in image quality. Digital zoom is different. It just crops the image which is something you can do after the photo has been taken.

  4. Zoom just means variable focal length. I would imagine that most, if not all of the people you have tagged use telephoto zoom lenses for their photos.

If you have any more questions feel free to tag me in your reply or send me a PM.


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