Best type of Lens for spotting airplanes?


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Kihu1966

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Jun 2, 2006
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#1
Hi
My first post here. I was wandering if there is any plane spotters out there that could give me peace of advice. I am looking a zoom lens, I mainly take pictures from Changi Airport T1 and now only at the middle section after they closed the runway side. I am thinking of getting Nikkor 55-200mm, is it enough. Camera is D50. Is it good to use teleconverter with this lens. Also if anyone could tell me where would be good place take pictures outside airport. I just don't have a car need to rely on PT. How about Changi beach.

Thanks
Kimmo
 

Terence

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Nov 16, 2003
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#2
Anything up to 200mm would be great from the T1 viewing gallery. And yes, Changi Beach would be great for RW20 approach shots. Good luck when the runway switches to 02 though.
 

Kihu1966

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#3
Is there any rule or logic when the planes are approaching from Changi Beach side , or does it depends on the conditions.

Kimmo
 

Terence

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Nov 16, 2003
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#4
Largely dependent on prevailing weather conditions. Planes like to land into a headwind. You can expect RW20 to be in use most of the time till about year end when the wind patterns change to favor RW02 for the first half of the year.
 

Kihu1966

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#6
I think that will be out of my budget. Budget is around 500-600s$. How about using the teleconverter with the 55-200. Will the quality go down the road.
 

Terence

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#7
The 55-200 is a entry level telezoom, it's not going to like it if you whack on a TC, especially a non-Nikon TC. Converters generally degrade image quality so it helps if you start off with nice glass to give better quality margins for the converter to work with. I suggest you stick with the 55-200, it's really ample length for shooting from T1, might be a bit short outdoors but make do with it till you can afford something more capable like the Bigma.
 

Kihu1966

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#8
Ok, thank's for all the info.
 

westwest1

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Feb 25, 2006
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#9
why dun try the 18-200 from sigma...around 600+++
 

Kihu1966

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#11
You mean the APO from Sigma, how about Nikkors 70-300 either G or ED. I hear quality is not bad even past 200 if u step up till F8-F11, is it true. Can you tell me what is BnS
 

raptor84

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Dec 6, 2005
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#12
Generally most lenses look good whe stopped down 1-2 stops so yes a 4-5.6 would be pretty good when stopped down to 8-11. Hopefully you want/need the high DOF and have enough light to shoot without handshake.

BnS is the Buy and Sell sub-forum here in CS. Its a pretty good place to buy second hand stuff.
 

ericp

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#13
With your budget, you can probably get the Nikkor 70-300ED new (or near new), or 2nd hand push-pull 80-200 f/2.8. Both are good in different ways ... the 70-300 is lighter, but still sharp and handles nicely if you work within its limits, and the 80-200 is excellent all around but heavy and doesn't have a tripod collar.

I have both, and usually use the 80-200, but sometimes I'll use the 70-300 for longer reach, and when I'm travelling light. A teleconverter will degrade your image, but will allow you to get some shots that you can't otherwise. IMHO, an image shot through a teleconverter will likely be better than one that you crop severely.
 

smallaperture

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Jan 5, 2004
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#14
Terence said:
Largely dependent on prevailing weather conditions. Planes like to land into a headwind. You can expect RW20 to be in use most of the time till about year end when the wind patterns change to favor RW02 for the first half of the year.
The AA airshow got me somewhat interested in shooting metal birds. From Changi beach, what is the best time to shoot, taking into consideration the sun's direction, the flights landing and taking off and other considerations. What about from the other side, like SafraCC or any other good location?

And there is the Paya Lebar airport open house coming soon leh, for those keen in shooting the military birds.
 

cadence

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May 19, 2006
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#15
For Changi, the wind conditions will change about Apr and Oct every year following the monsoon seasons. Runway change will be very frequent during these 2 months. From now till about Sep will be rather stable on Rwy 20, following that you can expect stable Rwy 02 ops from Nov onwards till about Mar.

There's a whole load of factors affecting the runway-in-use. Apart from wind direction and rain, visibility and location of rain clouds also play an important role. Sometimes it is mandatory to operate from a certain direction because the directive says so.

From Changi Beach, you will most likely be taking landings from now till Oct. After that for half a year, you've gotta relocate.
 

May 11, 2008
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#17
the closest i have seen is while driving along PIE entering KJE towards BKE (the plane is so goddamn near the e'way). plane landing at tengah airbase. you could prob try old CCK road but you may only get a fleeting glance of the plane as it may be too near. if i rem correctly you can spot F16s there. if you are in the east, you can spot C130 (which lands at PLAB). you can spot them afar at the stretch of tampines AVE 10, good unabstucted view if you got long lens. at mandai road you will spot alot of Apaches, and again, good unobstructed views.
 

Apr 15, 2008
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#18
the closest i have seen is while driving along PIE entering KJE towards BKE (the plane is so goddamn near the e'way). plane landing at tengah airbase. you could prob try old CCK road but you may only get a fleeting glance of the plane as it may be too near. if i rem correctly you can spot F16s there. if you are in the east, you can spot C130 (which lands at PLAB). you can spot them afar at the stretch of tampines AVE 10, good unabstucted view if you got long lens. at mandai road you will spot alot of Apaches, and again, good unobstructed views.
Hey thanks for the useful info :)


and yea, C-130s are pretty easy to spot around the East ;p
 

Apr 9, 2009
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#19
Hi
My first post here. I was wandering if there is any plane spotters out there that could give me peace of advice. I am looking a zoom lens, I mainly take pictures from Changi Airport T1 and now only at the middle section after they closed the runway side. I am thinking of getting Nikkor 55-200mm, is it enough. Camera is D50. Is it good to use teleconverter with this lens. Also if anyone could tell me where would be good place take pictures outside airport. I just don't have a car need to rely on PT. How about Changi beach.

Thanks
Kimmo
Is there any rule or logic when the planes are approaching from Changi Beach side , or does it depends on the conditions.

Kimmo
Well,

for me plane spotting is my main interest in photography. So far, my research on locations is Changi Beach (move around and shoot between the trees). These are locations that do not require CAAS permit. Otherwise runway side etc. gets the best view but you need to get an permit, and till now i havn't found a way to get the permit. I would recommend a 70-300mm lens, gives you enough range to shoot from changi beach. But if you're taking planes from T1 which a resting on the apron maybe a wide-angle up to about 50-60mm would suffice. Well, if you do go to T1 you'd find me there most of the time Haa~! Look out for a guy with an Olympus E-3 :X

Cowz.
 

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